Does your kid want to learn how to code?

 

EPO Header2649 Hoover Ave SE, Port Orchard, WA


EPO Parents,

We live in a world surrounded by technology.  We know that whatever field our students choose to go into as adults, their ability to succeed will increasingly hinge on understanding how technology works. Yet, only a tiny fraction of us are learning computer science, and less people are studying it than a decade ago.

That’s why, back in December, our entire school joined in on the largest education event in history: The Hour of Code. During Computer Science Education Week (Dec. 8-14), every one of our students was amongst over 2 million students worldwide spending one hour learning coding basics.

The Hour of Code is a statement that EPO is ready to teach these foundational 21st century skills. As the school librarian, I am committed to continue bringing computer programming activities to your students.  Here is a link for information about why I think coding is so important: http://tinyurl.com/EPOwhycoding

Recently, I attended training sponsored by Code.org so that I could learn how to expand your child’s skills beyond just one hour a year.  For the past two weeks, I have been introducing coding concepts to your students (K-6) in the library. See http://hourofcode.org for details on Hour of Code or simply go to www.code.org and explore their website.

I have attached your student’s code.org login information to this letter so that your child can continue working on code.org from home.  Simply go to the link on your child’s login sheet or go through the EPO links page (tinyurl.com/epolinks) and have your child click on thier teacher’s name, click their “secret picture” (password) and then the sign in box below the secret pictures. From there, your child can explore over 100 hours worth of coding puzzles.

On a different but related note, I have added a link to the EPO webpage (http://tinyurl.com/EastPortOrchard) for Parenting, Media, and Everything In Between, a blog created by Common Sense Media to help you navigate the world of technology and media with and for your child.  Common Sense Media also has a very helpful app called “Kids Media” that can help you determine the appropriateness of books/apps/movies/video games.  It gives an overview for each item, gives an appropriate age range and lists “parent should know” details about specific things to look out for.

Additionally, I also frequently post on library/technology related topics on the EPO Library Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/EPOLibrary or on Twitter: @hgleasonwilson or @wilsongirlsread and Instagram @wilsongirlsread.   I also have a blog where I post mostly about children’s books: www.followthereaders.com.

If you have any questions, suggestions or would like to help with starting a Coding Club in the fall, please  email me at school.

Sincerely,

Heather Wilson
Librarian
East Port Orchard Elementary
wilsonh@skitsap.wednet.edu

 

Have you tried audio-books?

I am always looking for ways to maximize my time by doing several things at once.  If you’re like me you may find that in our technology-rich world it is hard to find time to sit down and read a good book as often as we’d like.  What’s the solution?

Audio-books!

I discovered audio-books about 13 years ago when I was commuting from the north side of Los Angeles to my school librarian job way down south in Long Beach USD.  Things have changed over the years, but not as dramatically as you might think.  If you can work your car stereo and your cell phone then you’re halfway there!

Personally, I use a few methods to listen to audio-books.

1. Books on CD from the public library. (best for long car rides)

When searching in the Kitsap Regional Library Catalog (www.krl.org), do a typical search for whatever it is that you are interested in listening to, but limit the search by choosing “audio-book” in the drop down menu next to “limit by:”

One of the fantastic things about the public library (there are so many), is that all you need to do is find what you want in the online catalog, click the “place hold” button, and KRL will pull the materials for you.  They’ll even email to tell you that your things are ready.  Fabulous, right?

2. Digital audio-books from the public library.

Search as in #1, but choose “audio e-book” OR go to the search on the KRL Overdrive website: http://krl.lib.overdrive.com/  You don’t even need to leave your couch to check out e-books with this method!

To listen to audio-books through Overdrive, you will need to download the Overdrive app to your phone or tablet device. Go to the Overdrive website to get started: Overdrive  Overdrive requires an additional login that ties in with your library card.

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The Wilson girls are currently listening to the 4th Land of Stories book.

You can also search the library collection through the app. Overdrive also gives you access to KRL’s collection of E-books (if you want to check out books to read on your phone, Kindle, iPad or other e-reader). After you check out a book through Overdrive, you will be prompted to download the book onto your device.

I like to use Overdrive to listen to audio-books through the Bluetooth connection in my car. When I turn the car off, Overdrive knows to pause the book.

Books borrowed through Overdrive can be borrowed for 21 days. After the 21 day period, they are deleted from your device.

overdrive 1If you have a library card from KRL, you may also obtain a card for the Seattle Public Library and/or King County Library System. All you need to do is take your KRL card to any Seattle or King County library branch with your ID and ask for a library card. I have one of each simply because it gives me access to a much greater selection of audio-books.

You can also search and put audio-books on hold. It’s true.

3. Audible.com

Audible is an app that allows you to buy audio-book titles and download them to your device. I typically buy 12 credits per year (it is cheaper this way) and cash them in slowly over time to buy books that I’d like to hear that the public library doesn’t own. This is good for newer titles especially. They have several sales per year, including many Buy One, Get One Free sales and they also have inexpensive (less than $2) kids titles. For example, I just bought a dozen or so “Who was” biographies for my older daughter. Audible is an Amazon company, so if you have a Kindle, the titles that you buy show up in your titles list on your device and then you download them from there.

audible
Some of the titles I’ve purchased from Audible.com

Audible also offers many things in addition to books including: newspapers, magazines, radio shows and podcasts for free. I have listened to State of the Union speeches using Audible.

I started using Audible in 2002 and I still have access to all of the books that I have purchased over the years.  My husband and I share the account, so he can listen to the titles that I have purchased on his mobile devices.

 

I would be pleased to help any of you navigate through this stuff if you’d like help getting yourself set up with some audio-books. Pop in and let me know or drop me an email at followthereaders@icloud.com

Happy listening!

EPO celebrating Computer Science Education Week with HOUR OF CODE!

 

December 7-13, 2015 is Computer Science Education Week.  Students throughout South Kitsap School District will celebrate by participating in Hour of Code activities with their classmates.  Here at East Port Orchard Elementary, we have been talking about what “coding” means and why we would want to know more about it.

For links to the activities that I will be doing with your students in the library, please visit: http://tinyurl.com/epolinks and choose one of the links from the “code.org coding” section.  Additional links to other websites can be found in the “coding” section. We are doing the Minecraft puzzles.

Coding can be a fun activity to work on with your child – and it’s absolutely FREE!

You can bring the whole family to South Kitsap High School on December 10th during the Hour of Code event.   SKHS will open a couple of computer labs during the hours of 5 – 7 PM for anyone to come in and write some code.  To cap off the event, SKHS will be screening CODEGIRL, an engaging and inspirational documentary about the Technovation Challenge, a global technology entrepreneurship program for girls, centered on app development to help solve local problems.  The screening begins at 7 pm in the high school auditorium.

Please watch these short videos for a taste of what we discovered and a preview of the coding that we will be working on next week in the library.

What is Coding?

Preview of Hour of Code:

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Make sure to check out the EPO Library on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EPOLibrary/

stories_donorschoose_logoMrs. Wilson’s Donorschoose.org page: http://www.donorschoose.org/mrswilsonslibrary/