Saturday, March 26, 2016

Flannel Friday Roundup - 3.26.16

Happy Saturday, everyone!

First up is Wendy from Flannel Board Fun. She's a definite overachiever with five adorable flannels sets!: Town, Space, Flowers, Ocean, and Dinosaurs.

Emily at Literary Hoots shares her perfectly-timed flannel based on the book Chester's Colorful Eggs. She gives us other options on how to use the flannel too. It has the added bonus of helping children learn their colors!

Jane at Piper Loves the Library turns her lovely flannel from In My Nest into a lesson about nature. I love how she also details the rest of her program, which includes a neat nest art activity!

Spring is in the air for Kathryn over at Fun with Friends at Storytime! Her bee flannels have multiple uses and she's nice enough to include some song/fingerplay ideas to get us started with planning our storytimes.

Last but not least, Kate over at Felt Board Magic shares her fun take on "Five Monkeys and the Alligator" with Five Little Fish Swimming in the Sea. She includes the song lyrics and examples of the different fish she's made!

What a great variety in this week's roundup! I'm excited to try making some of these myself.

For more information about Flannel Friday, check out their official blogPinterest pageFacebook group, or follow #flannelfriday on Twitter.

Happy flanneling!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Flannel Friday Placeholder

I don't know about you, but in Ohio it doesn't quite feel like spring yet:

Image source

Please comment below with a link to your flannels and your name by Friday at 10:00 p.m. and I'll post the roundup on Saturday.

For those of you who aren't familiar with Flannel Friday, check out their websiteFacebook group, or Pinterest page.

Happy flanneling!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Makey Makey Workshop

When searching for tech program ideas for tweens and teens, I found Makey Makey to be one of the easiest and most rewarding.

What is Makey Makey, you ask? It basically an invention kit that allows user to take regular objects that they'd find at home and connect them to the computer. The kit looks like this:


You can buy a kit for around $50 on Amazon. We purchased 8 kits so that we could offer a workshop for up to 24 participants (having them work in groups of 2 or 3). I created a one-time, 1 hour workshop for grades 3 to 5 that you can alter for really any group ages 8 and up. Here's what I did:

1. Give a brief overview of electricity/circuits. Because using the Makey Makey is basically just making circuits and some kids might not have learned about them yet in school, I showed them a brief video from Bill Nye (or you can use his Electricity DVD which has the same short video)

2. Show some short videos of cool Makey Makey projects. First I showed them the introductory video from the Makey Makey website. Then I showed them some other cool projects from YouTube, such as the guy playing "O Say Can You See" by eating/drinking. I literally just Googled "cool Makey Makey projects" to find my examples.

3. Go over the parts of the Makey Makey. As I explained each part, I had the tweens follow along by connecting the various cables as well as the Makey Makey itself to the computer.

4. Give the tweens specific challenges to make sure they were all on the same page. I used the "How-To" page of the Makey Makey site for challenges:

  • Use the Makey Makey with the space bar key
  • Play the drum kit using the Makey Makey
You can give them more challenges before setting them loose if you want, but I found these to be the best two in order to get them comfortable using the kits. I briefly explained the more complicated connections on the back of the Makey Makey board in case they wanted to try its but told them that was completely optional.

5. Go over the various conductive materials available to use. We briefly talked about conductivity and the items I set out for the tweens to try out. These included:
  • bananas
  • celery/carrots
  • marshmallows
  • gummy bears
  • aluminum foil
  • quarters
  • pencils/paper
  • Play Doh

6. Let them tinker! I gave them free reign to try out the Makey Makey and came around to help with any questions/troubleshooting. The most popular items were the Play Doh, the marshmallows, the gummy candy, and the bananas. The pencil/paper drawing were hit and miss. The next time, I would practice using these materials beforehand. I also gave them some links to games that worked well with the Makey Makey controller:

Mario Bros. - 
Pac Man - 
Scratch Piano: 
Whack A Frog: 
Full Pac Man: 
Pong (uses mouse): 
Pong (2 player):

7. (Optional) Just before class ended, I had them create a circle holding hands and played the bongo game. This showed them that we could create a giant circuit using just ourselves!

That's it! I'm planning a workshop for teens where we get more involved with what the Makey Makey can do.

Have you ever done a Makey Makey program? What did you do?

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Anime Club: Onigiri

Onigiri (or rice balls) is a popular Japanese dish. It's also pretty easy to make! So I decided to try it as an activity at my last anime club meeting.

I found this website, which details a great method for making onigiri using saran wrap.

What You Need:
  • Sushi rice (You must use sushi rice specifically. You can find it at your local Asian market or Amazon. See the website above for more info on the differences in rice.)
  • Salt
  • Water
  • Saran wrap
  • Small bowls, cups, or round containers (I found these, which ended up being the perfect size.)
  • Fillings such as tuna, chicken, pickles, etc. Really anything salty is good.
  • Nori

I made a big batch of rice in my rice cooker the day of the program. If you have an anime club and do several food programs with them, a rice cooker is a great investment!

(Please forgive the poor quality photos. I was taking them while the teens were watching anime with the lights down.)

1. First, put some Saran wrap in the bowl. Sprinkle some water, then salt in the bottom making sure to cover the sides too.

2. Then scoop some rice in the bottom. I measured out about 1/2 cup for each teen, which made a pretty good sized rice ball.

3. If you want to add a filling, poke a hole in the middle with your finger. If not, skip to Step 6.

4. Scoop a small amount of filling into the hole. For fillings, I provided canned tuna, teriyaki chicken, dill pickles, soy sauce, and bonito flakes for those that wanted a more traditional filling. The teriyaki chicken was by far the most popular choice with my teens.

5. Cover the hole with a small amount of rice.

6. Gather the ends of the Saran wrap and twist in order to get all of the air out.

7. Shape the rice using your hands into balls, or triangles, or whatever shape you like! Add a strip of nori seaweed to the bottom to make it easier to hold/eat.

I had some toasted sesame seeds left over from another program, so I set those out for the teens to add as a topping (right).

One of my teens was really good at making triangles. Me? Not so much...

That's it! These were so easy to make and the teens loved it. I highly recommend this for any anime club.

Have you made onigiri at your library? What other food programs worked for you?