Thursday, July 30, 2009

Aquapalooza Lost and Found Alerts

Ok, we've got a couple of towels taking up space here in the lost and found area, and we have someone looking for a missing blue and white shirt. If you're missing something, or have anything that isn't yours, please come on in and help us sort it out.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Our last program of the season (not counting that last movie tomorrow) was Origami. A big thank you to Drew Tomes for guiding us through 2 very different types of projects. Everybody went home with something that looked pretty darn good! The second project was a modular one. See the pic of one of the final ones. Very cool!


Finally getting to posting some pics and video from yesterday's Aquapalooza program. What a blast! The weather was fabulous and we had a great turnout. Other than wondering where that one water ballon that the kids launched, that made it clear over the building into the upper parking lot, actually ended up (if you saw it, let me know) I'll quit babbling and just let the pics and video speak for the day. Definitely watch for this again next summer!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Tie Dye - Part 1

Tie dye is always a popular program. It's the only one that we have done every single year that there has been a Teen Summer Reading Program. In fact, I believe all but the first year, we've done it twice. This year is no exception. We ended up with 29 kids in the first session. If you want in on this one, and are reading this before 7:00 pm, come on in then, when we'll be doing Round 2. My only complaint about this program is that I frequently don't get to see the final product, so if you were here, please wear your shirt the next time you come into the library, and look for me.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Murder Mystery - Death Gets a Red Card

The interactive murder mysteries are always popular, and this year's was no exception. In fact, we decided after last summer's, to offer it twice this year to keep the groups to a manageable size. Good decision! It was a bit saner this year. We managed to get both sessions in before those torrential downpours hit yesterday, so that was a big plus, since we had some parts set up outside. Our chalk body outline (complete with smiley face!) is probably gone. But, as always, everyone had a great time, and some people even solved the case correctly! These are perennial favorites, so watch for one again next summer.

Video Game Day

We had another great open play video game day on Tuesday. As usual, not only were the video games in constant use, but the Nerf ping-pong was in pretty constant use as well. And I don't know why (you guys know you don't have nearly enough time to actually get a game in!) but the Risk always comes out, too. That's the last game day of the summer, but watch for tournaments once school starts.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Weekly Challenge July 20-24, 2009

Ok, we've got a break in the action between rounds of the murder mystery, so here (finally) is this week's Weekly Challenge. Sorry about the delay!

Divide the figure below into four equal areas, each of identical shape.

Weekly Challenge July 27-30, 2009

Ok, here's next week's Weekly Challenge. I know, I know, I forgot to post this week's. I'll try to get it up later today, after we get set up for the murder mystery.

What do these words have in common?

• banana
• dresser
• grammar
• potato
• revive
• uneven
• assess

Thursday, July 16, 2009

What Mrs N's Been Reading - Little (Grrl) Lost and Escape the Mask

As usual this time of year, I'm once again a little behind on posting, so you'll get 2 books on this post. The first was Charles De Lint's Little (Grrl) Lost. This one was a disappointment. 14-year-old TJ has been forced to move from the farm, which she loved, to the city. She's having a hard time adjusting and making friends, until she discovers a Little, a six-inch-tall, 16-year-old girl named Elizabeth, living in the walls of the new house. They get to be friends, and set out on a mission to meet a local author, who may have information about other Littles. Along the way, Elizabeth gets lost, and TJ is determined to find her again. Once they are split up, the story alternates between, the 2 points of view. Annoyingly, for me anyway, the author chose to narrate in 3rd person initially, but once the girls are split up, alternate between TJ's 3rd person perspective and Elizabeth's 1st person perspective. In addition to some awkwardness in the writing style, I was also disappointed in the amount of action in this one. I thought it was pretty slow, and lacked a rewarding ending. Nothing objectionable in this one for middle-schoolers, but not much to recommend it either.

On to David Ward's Escape the Mask. This one is the first in the Grassland Trilogy. It's the story of a group of young people who were kidnapped as small children to become slaves to a group of people known to them as Spears. They don't all speak the same language and must communicate with hand signals that have developed over the years. Some have been there since they were so young that they have no recollection of home. Suddenly, the daily routine seems to be changing, and they sense danger coming. It's a simple story, told in a straightforward, but very compelling manner. I really enjoyed this one. Nothing objectionable for middle-schoolers, and might also be good for those who need something a little shorter, without difficult vocabulary. Enjoy!

Summer Drinks

I wasn't able to be here yesterday for the Summer Drinks program, and it looks like I missed a good one! A big thank you to Nancy Routch from the Penn State Extension office for introducing 38 kids to some fabulous looking new summer drinks (just looking at the grocery store receipt, my mouth was watering). The kids all got to take the recipes home as well as help make everything. Very cool!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Food Fear Factor Program

Food Fear Factor, this year's entry in the list of annual gross and disgusting programs, was a lot of fun this afternoon. We had everything from litchi candy to vegemite, dung beetles, and some really yucky cheeses. Surprisingly, at least to me, the vegemite knocked more people out of the competition than the dung beetles. Even more surprising, 9 people survived the final round where we took a bit of everything and tossed it into a blender. That looked pretty foul, but those folks drank it, and kept it down. Kids were asking for more of some of the things afterwards, so we did successfully introduce some new foods to some people. The pics are of the final round, and the survivors of the final round. Good job gang!

Thursday, July 09, 2009


We wrapped up our 3-day comics program yesterday. The cool thing about this one is that most of the group decided that they want to continue to meet. They want to get the comic that they were working on as a group, to the point where they can actually publish it. We have additional meetings scheduled through the end of the year, the next one being at 1:00 pm on August 6. I really hope they stick with it. I'd love to have a few copies of their final product in the collection! Thanks Ben! If you missed this one, a few pics are below.

More Rocket Photos

Gage's dad stopped by yesterday with a CD of photos that he had taken at the rocket launch (both days). After looking through them, my only complaint was that there were too many really good shots. I usually try to narrow it down to 3-5 pics per post, but I figured why look the proverbial gift horse in the mouth? Given so many good shots, I'm just going to post a lot of my favorites and let you all enjoy them. Thanks Todd! Excellent job capturing so many of them, right as they lifted off, complete with smoke plumes!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

What Mrs N's Been Reading - Leonardo's Shadow

I finished Leonardo's Shadow by Christopher Grey sometime last week, but I'm just now getting around to the post. It's written from the point of view of 15-year-old Giacomo in Milan, Italy in 1497. If you aren't an art history buff, that may not mean anything to you. But if you are, you'd know that that is when and where Leonardo da Vinci was working on The Last Supper. Several years earlier Leonardo had rescued Giacomo from an angry mob, took him into his house, and made him his servant. Giacomo had fallen, and has no memory of anything before the angry mob. He is trying to find out who he is and where he came from. He also wants to become an artist himself, but Leonardo refuses to teach him, so he surreptitiously works on his own, copying some of the master's sketches. I really enjoyed this one. You get a look at life and the politics of the time, as well as how da Vinci worked, or frequently didn't work. A very good one for middle school students.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Weekly Challenge July 13-18, 2009

OK, now that I finally have this week's challenge posted, let's make up for that one being late by posting next week's a little early. Here you go:

What occurs once in a second, once in a month, and once in a century, but doesn’t occur at all in a week, a year, or a decade?

Weekly Challenge July 6-11, 2009

Oops! Went to post next week's Weekly Challenge and realized that I never put this week's up. Sorry about that! It was a little crazy around here last week with the rocketry program partly off site. Anyway, this week's is a sudoku. I think everyone knows how to do these by now so I'll skip the instructions. Here's the puzzle:

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Concert Vindication

Some people were questioning that decision to postpone the Garage Band Fest when it was made this afternoon. Well, we would have just been getting started and it's coming down in buckets out there. Thank you and those radar maps! Again, we're hoping to reschedule. Watch for updates. I'll post 'em here as soon as I have 'em.

Rocket Pics and Video

OK, finally had a little time to go through the pics and video from both the launch and the build. What a great day yesterday when we launched! The weather held that time, and unlike Tuesday when we only launched 2 before the deluge hit, but lost one out on 11/15, everyone's rockets survived the day. For 3 or 4 people that's thanks to those great guys who were up working on the school roof while we were launching. Unfortunately, I didn't write down the name of the company, and can't remember what it was, but those guys were wonderful! Kids were asking if we'd be doing this program again. Scheduling an instructor was tough this year. If he's available next year, we'll probably bring him back. I also have someone else that I tried to get this year. He was very willing, but his schedule was even worse. I'll see what I can do.
In the meantime, here are a few photos and videos. I may post more if Gage's dad gets some of the ones that he took, to me. Keep an eye out.