12 Jun 2018

Announcing Visiting Authors 2019

We are thrilled to share that our Visiting Authors in March 2019 will be William Kamkwamba and Laura Vaccarro Seeger. 

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.

10 Jun 2018

Building and Discovery in the Library

Anyone who has visited our library in the past few weeks has noticed a buzz of excitement. Students are engaged in creating giant structures, feats of engineering and works of art. Our libraries are fortunate to have received a generous parent donation to purchase Keva Planks and Lego Education materials. Our goal is to offer students opportunities to play, create, experiment, tell stories and work collaboratively.

Research has shown (University of Idaho and others) the importance of providing children with time to investigate with building blocks. Children who learn and play with blocks are more successful in mathematics and science. Physically handling the blocks builds a foundational understanding of quantities, equality, geometry and many other concepts.

According to the Keva Planks designers, "In a room full of children and KEVA® Planks, attention spans lengthen, concentration intensifies, creativity is focused, voices are muted, teamwork happens, excitement builds, projects flow, and children yearn to learn."

The quantity, 1,600 Keva planks in the ES Library, allows students to build large, collaborative structures, as well as smaller, interconnected designs. The blocks are all the same size and are quick and easy to clean up, reset and start all over again. Students are excited to build together and to add on the work of their classmates. They are inspired and challenged by each other's ideas. Some students build up as tall as they can, while others build out and create stories or pictures.

Students are also delighted with the new Lego kits in the ES Library. We have a Tubes Experiment set which allows students to build tunnels and slides. We have a STEAM Park set, which includes gears, levers, pulleys and even and air cannon. We also have a set of Story Scenes which offer backdrops to set the stage for students to build and act out their own stories. Lego Education products support the philosophy that "twenty-first century learning is about providing children with opportunities to experiment with their surroundings as a form of problem solving. It is about creativity and collaboration, motivation and self-direction. It is about improvisation and discovery, and interacting with meaningful tools that expand mental capacities."

We are also thrilled with the installation of our new Lego tables and Lego walls in the libraries. In the ES Library ground floor, we have a round Duplo table and two mobile Lego walls on easels. Upstairs, we have a standing Lego table with smaller bricks and large Lego wall. In our Middle High School Library, we also have two mobile Lego tables. We can't wait to see what our students will build and create with these exciting materials.

As a result of this generous ASD family donation, and in addition to Lego materials and Lego tables, the ASD ES and MS/HS Libraries are introducing custom portable staging spaces to engage students performance, communication, and collaboration activities across a variety of disciplines. The libraries have also introduced a new database, Newslea for students in Grades 3-12.

3 Jun 2018

Reading Makes You Feel Good: Summer Challenge 2018

Summer is just around the corner. Are you ready for the reading challenge reveal?! Keeping our tradition for the fifth year in a row, we are happy to share the 2018 summer reading challenge, "Reading Makes You Feel Good."

Feel good and read this summer! Create your own unique challenge by reading a variety of books. Choose from the attached list or design your own challenge entirely! Students are encouraged to read what they enjoy and what interests them. Learn more about your passions or try something new.

Click the link to print your own copy or to create your own digital document. Color each image as you complete the challenge and make a list of all the titles you read during the summer. Turn your record sheet into the library by Thursday, September 7 to receive a certificate of participation.

We encourage students to use their creativity with the reading challenge. Feel free to draw your own pictures to represent each book that you read or to share your reading lists in your own unique way. Students can share evidence of their reading with photographs, drawings, lists, posters, videos, models -- the only limit is your imagination!

Many thanks to Todd Parr for inspiring our reading challenge this summer at to ASD student, Yasmin Alansari, Class of 2018, for creating the artwork for the challenge.