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14 Feb 2019

Breakout Edu: Unlocking Learning as a Team

This week, Grade 4 students have been engrossed in problem solving using Breakout Edu. Students worked in groups to solve a series of puzzles based around our visiting author Laura Vaccaro Seeger's books. The puzzles revealed the codes needed to unlock a series of padlocks and open the breakout box. A fun surprise of origami materials was hidden inside each box.


Breakout Edu kits aim to help design learning experiences that "bring the 4 Cs alive: critical thinking, collaboration, creativity and communication." The student groups that were the most successful with the Breakout challenge worked together as a team, carefully read the clues, checked for understanding with their teammates and recorded their thinking as they worked through the puzzles.

Teams were jumping and cheering with joy as they solved each lock code. The excitement was tangible in the room. Many students asked, "When can we do this again?!" Some students also wanted to know how to set the locks and wondered if they could try designing their own challenges.

This is just the beginning of the powerful learning that we can experience with Breakout Edu. We can't wait to do more!

12 Feb 2019

Visiting Authors Coming Soon

We will soon welcome our Visiting Authors, William Kamkwamba and Laura Vaccarro Seeger. From March 17 - 28, William and Laura will engage our learning community with workshops and presentations.

William Kamkwamba's memoir, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, a New York Times Bestseller and a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year, is uniquely available in three formats - a picture book, middle grade novel and adult novel. William's story has inspired many as it shows how even in the face of hardship a child's idea can change the world. We invite our ASD community to participate in a One School, One Book celebration - a shared reading experience - with The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind.

When fourteen-year-old William’s Malawi village was hit by a drought, food and money were scarce. Unable to attend school, William spent days in the library, researching and dreaming of bringing electricity to his village. William built a functioning windmill out of junkyard scraps and became a hero who harnessed the wind.

After an invitation to join TEDGlobal as a fellow, William graduated from Dartmouth College in 2014 and began work at Ideo.org. William's time at Ideo focused on Human Centered Design and sent him around the world working on projects ranging from sanitation in India to gender-based violence prevention in Kenya. He is now working with WiderNet to develop appropriate technology curriculum that will allow people to bridge the gap between "knowing" and "doing". WiderNet will distribute the content through eGranaries around Malawi and across Africa. His Moving Windmills Project uses donations to support community initiatives in Malawi.



Laura Vaccaro Seeger is a best-selling and award-winning creator of 19 children's books. Her books such as Green, First the Egg, What If? and Lemons Are Not Red are full of surprises that delight her readers. With features including flaps, cut-outs, and hidden pictures, each book is unique and interactive. 

Laura is a two-time winner of the Caldecott Honor Award, winner of the New York Times Best Illustrated Book Award, the Boston Globe/Horn Book Award for Best Picture Book, and a 2-time winner of the Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Award. She is also the recipient of both the Massachusetts Reading Association and the New York Empire State awards for “Body of Work and Contribution to Children’s Literature”.

Laura’s paintings have been exhibited at many museums and galleries including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, the Mazza Museum of Picture Book Art, the New York Public Library, and the New York Nassau County Museum of Art. Laura earned her BFA degree at the School of Fine Art and Design at the State University of New York. She began her career as an animator, artist, designer, and editor NBC and ABC and won an Emmy Award for an opening animation for an NBC Special.


Look out for more information about our Visiting Authors celebrations in the coming weeks.

27 Jan 2019

Maker Mindset in the Library

Our Elementary students have embraced the maker mindset in the library. Students visiting the library during class time or in their free time are diving in to investigations and play with a variety of materials. As a school, ASD has defined what "maker" means to us:

Maker Mindset @ ASD:

Question everything. Be curious. Think with your hands. Embrace failure.
Explore. Create. Tinker. Invent. Design. Experiment. Construct. Play. DO!

And how do we bring this mindset to life in the library? Through student choice and agency; students can drive their own learning and pursue personal interests. A variety of books, digital tools and materials are available and the students bring their own ideas and questions.

Over the first semester, we observed students elevate their creativity, work cooperatively and push their play to new heights. They are often using multiple materials in their creations such as building mazes for beebot robots, making tents to climb inside and read, designing a soccer game with Spheros and Keva planks and building a Christmas tree with dowels, rubber bands and art materials.


When classes visit the library, students choose from our "ASD Library Daily Menu." Students are able to make a choice as to which activity is right for them on that particular day.

Students practice making choices - one day may be book selection, another may be continuing a project with a friend and another it may be some independent exploration. Teachers and librarians support students in finding a balance that is best for each individual learner.

Libraries around the world are expanding learning opportunities for their patrons - both school and public libraries. As a K-12 Library team, we continue to research best practice for libraries around the world, and we continue to listen to and observe our unique community of learners. 

An article from Edutopia by Josh Weisgrau outlines some important reasons why libraries are becoming champions of the maker mindset:

  • Makerspaces and libraries are sites of informal learning.
  • Libraries and makerspaces are inherently interdisciplinary spaces.
  • Libraries and makerspaces provide equitable access to materials and resources.
  • Makerspaces and libraries are more than just resource closets.
  • Libraries and makerspaces serve the common goal of building community.

28 Nov 2018

Gratitude Graffiti


In celebration of Thanksgiving, our Elementary students wrote messages and illustrations expressing their gratitude. Students enjoyed both writing their thoughts and reading the messages from their peers. Many students wrote that they were thankful for their families, their school and their friends.


The library is quite literally glowing with beautiful words of gratitude. Reading our students' words helps us realize how lucky we are to have such a special school community. 

18 Oct 2018

One School, One Book: The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

ASD Libraries invite our community to participate in a shared reading experience; One School, One Book. As a part of our visiting author celebrations in March, we encourage students, parents, teachers and staff to read The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba.

William's memoir, a New York Times Bestseller and a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year, is uniquely available in three formats - a picture book, middle grade novel and adult novel. William's story has inspired many as it shows how even in the face of hardship a child's idea can change the world. As a school community, we have the opportunity to share and discuss a powerful story together across all ages and to meet William in person.



When fourteen-year-old William’s Malawi village was hit by a drought, food and money were scarce. Unable to attend school, William spent days in the library, researching and dreaming of bringing electricity to his village. William built a functioning windmill out of junkyard scraps and became a hero who harnessed the wind.

After an invitation to join TEDGlobal as a fellow, William graduated from Dartmouth College in 2014 and began work at Ideo.org. William's time at Ideo focused on Human Centered Design and sent him around the world working on projects ranging from sanitation in India to gender-based violence prevention in Kenya. He is now working with WiderNet to develop appropriate technology curriculum that will allow people to bridge the gap between "knowing" and "doing". WiderNet will distribute the content through eGranaries around Malawi and across Africa. His Moving Windmills Project uses donations to support community initiatives in Malawi.

Copies of all three versions of The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind are available at ASD Libraries. Stay tuned for more information about our visiting authors program.