I am spending today (my only day away from the new library since the doors were opened last week) so that I can figure out WHAT I’m going to teach, rather than obsessing about WHERE and HOW. It will be so amazing, but here are some realities that were different than I thought they would be! You will need to either grow another foot OR use the footstools we will be providing in order to access the fiction books on the top shelf. First, we tried to move the shelves down, but there was so much wasted space and we thought it would be more dangerous to trip over books than to stretch to reach them.

too tall
Ummm. About that top shelf…
We have sooooo much storage
library b43
Wait. Are these in order?!
Day 2 of move in
Day one of move in

We will have painstakingly specific, nitpicky rules and practice regarding these stepstools!!

We will have access to a STEM area for group work, which will give you access not only to traditional maker tools like Keva Planks, Strawbees, and Lego, but also to old favorite robots like Ozobots and Finch, but also Dash & Dot! We will have brand new Chromebooks and a classroom set of iPads to expand your capacity to explore and create. We will also have books about Stop Gap animation. Why else have thousands of lego mini figures?!

I absolutely would not have had this library as ready as it is without the rock star library paras from our crosstown buddy schools, Brentwood, Colbert, Meadow Ridge, Mountainside and Prairie View. Your expertise was vital! Becky Swenson, Gaylene Johnson and Mary Lawson spent three days each!!!

See you next week. I can’t reveal any more. I have a lot more work to do….

~Mrs. Rossi

Posted in graphic design, Makerspace, STEM, Trending technology

I Can’t WAIT for you to CHECK OUT…

…the new library media center at Midway. It will be, as I believe all school libraries should be, at the CENTER of the new beautiful school. And it will also be a center for creativity and discovery.

In addition to having a FULL library collection, we will have brand new maker space tools, technology, access to apps and NEW CHROMEBOOKS.  Great things come to those who wait, and we have been!

Here are photos of Mr. Westermann’s most recent foray inside the construction zone in mid July ’18. Although things look unfinished, they are making great progress everyday and have promised I can get inside by August 24. I will spend many, many hours making it perfect for all of you! Never have I been this excited to start school. I’m including when I was a student!!! Also new this year, hour-long library slots for 3rd-6th graders.


Big changes and big adventures for us in 2018-2019, Sharks!



Posted in Freedom to read, perserverance, Reading and Library Advocacy

All I want for Christmas is a library..and I get it! Sort of…

On the last day of school before winter break, the second and third grade teachers will move from their rooms in the south wing and portables into the brand new East wing! The shifting out of rooms will leave one portable empty, to filled by as complete a library as I can make in a 30 x 25 (ish) rectangle! Yes, Virginia, there IS a Santa Claus. (Click on  “Santa Claus” to read the famous story I’m referencing.)

So while my para, Mrs. Pratt and I have gotten great exercise walking from room to room throughout the school, we look forward to having our own space to simulate a library from January 2nd to the end of the year.

We will be in what is currently serving as Mrs. Corry’s second grade classroom and I have begun creating it in my head, and now we will just need to figure out how to prune my library collection by two thirds. Or maybe three-fourths.

And I will tell you more about the epic library media center that will exist at the beginning of next year as I get the details.


Posted in Digital Citizenship

Digital Citizenship Begins Now!

This week we will be venturing into Chromebook sign-in. This is a very grown-up concept for first graders, because signing in with their usernames and passwords is number and letter-focused task that isn’t correlated AT ALL with ABC order. Further complicating the process is that first graders are so proud to type the letters of their first name, not the first four of their last name with some random digits. What’s WONDERFUL this year is that we now have the “@mead354.org” is already auto-filled. So I don’t have to teach “SHIFT 2” for @. It is a fantastic development, trust me. Once they get the hang of it, the students are so excited to have access to their own Gmail account, even though we won’t be using it for a few years. 🙂 We will begin, with K and 1st graders, with lessons on going on using the internet safely.


for K-2, I use the Commonsense Media Digital Citizenship lessons, which begin with the basics of treating people well in person and online and not answering questions about personal information. I will also touch on whether or not websites are reliable in second grade, but not much beyond that. I will also send home a few family activities which I will encourage you to complete with your students. Here is an introduction about WHY we teach the Digital Citizenship curriclum, from the website, http://www.commonsensemedia.org Consider it MY pitch! (But appreciate that I am citing my source which is a vital part of being a good digital citizen!)

The digital world that our kids are learning and growing up in is incredibly exciting. Through technology, kids have access to new tools, to an incredible range of resources, and to stimulating opportunities to participate in novel ways. At the same time, parenting kids who are immersed in so many different technologies and apps can be daunting. I know our school is already working to make sure students cultivate the 21st-century skills they need. I’m writing to communicate my interest in and enthusiasm for bringing parents into the conversation about kids’ digital lives. I believe that a joint effort between parents and teachers is a valuable way to more fully supporting the students and families in our community. I encourage you to take a look at a free new program from Common Sense Education. Common Sense is a nationally recognized, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization. It is a trustworthy, leading resource for both schools and families. Their new program, Connecting Families, is a free program with a collection of resources that are designed to help schools engage families in the important challenges and choices kids face online. The resources include guides for different types of community events, as well as field-tested content to use in those events. The program provides a direct way for schools to respond to parents’ appetite for high-quality resources about kids’ digital lives. It also offers an opportunity to bring parents and caretakers together at school and strengthen the home-school connection. In this way, the program would amplify and build on our school’s existing efforts. One aspect of the program is a series of parent discussions with “Conversation Cases” on hot topics, including

• body image • cyberbullying • digital footprints • privacy • distraction, multitasking, and time management 

Each includes a case study for the group to review together, a set of discussion questions, and take-home resources. The content promotes communication and empowers parents to guide their kids to be safe, responsible, and respectful participants in a digital world. I think Connecting Families is a valuable program for our community.”

While this creates a context for why I’m teaching, I won’t be using every aspect of the curriculum; there are several great resources


I’ll be drawing from.

Here’s some of my favorites!




Digital Safety website: educational games


My favorite Digital Citizenship handout: THINK

http://www.technologyrocksseriously.com/2014/10/before-you-post-think.html#.ViPHvxCrTxt source: technologyrocksseriously.com

Student Interactive writing tools


Fabulous short films



Posted in Grit, perserverance, traditional topics, non-traditional teaching

Midway Demo Days

Screen Shot 2017-09-08 at 4.25.54 PMMidway is being remodeled, so I’d estimate 1/3 of the building will be torn out and under construction (rotating through end of year) which means no A/C. We aren’t the only school dealing with old buildings and no A/C. My daughters have come home each day flushed and sweaty after a day in their stiflingly hot middle school on Spokane’s South Hill.

Our construction crew (yes, they are OURS. A long term gig, an open invite to coffee in their trailer. For real) is working with creative air flow recirculation strategies but because of horrid air, we can’t use cool air from outside. There has been no outdoor recess or PE, and will be no gym, (until January) and no library (I run around to different classrooms to teach.) The teachers and students, (with the exception of the temporary portable classrooms which are new and have A/C) are wilting. 

They manage to stay engaged and do what they are told and when it’s my turn to teach them I’ve been telling them:  “Look. You’ll hear of other students across the city with their ‘cool learning spaces’ and their ‘gymnasiums’ and ‘librarians who let them check out books,’ their *dry clothes* but you will have SO MUCH MORE CHARACTER. When life doesn’t work out and you are slapped with broken promises and plans it will all just ROLL OFF YOU because you will have had THIS YEAR. You are learning to have GRIT!” 

Screen Shot 2017-09-09 at 12.28.56 PM

That many of us were actually covered in physical grit is beside the point.
I sincerely hope our air will calm down, for so many reasons, but I remain dazzled by the workability we’ve created. 

Also, in library news, I’ve taught students to place holds, but given the circumstances of the library/music room, it could take a while to dig out your books from crowded, covered shelves, or the storage unit outside. You’ll need to be patient about that too!

Our teaching crew on the last morning of the first day of school. We aren’t sweating yet!!! Look how fresh we are!


Tale As Old As Time…Beauty and the BEAK



Found the next school science assembly! A stunning presentation at a science/literacy workshop! Jane Veltcamp, The author of the forthcoming book, “Beauty and the Beak” told her story and brought her birds of prey. Beauty is an American Bald Eagle shot by a poacher. She didn’t die but her beak, which enables her to hunt, was damaged beyond use. The book is a chronicle of all the allies who worked to try and get her back to 100 percent. Did it work?! FIND OUT and also find out about a regional program we have to rebuild and relocate birds of prey who are hurt by humans. It sounds like a bummer but it’s inspiring too! And these BIRDS. WOW

Posted in Makerspace, STEM

STEM: They are learning TOOLS. Don’t say TOYS

IMG_4972We just unpackaged (and threw into bins) four different types of construction tools into our STEM area of the library. I had to be VERY specific about he expectations, because this “Maker Space” concept is new; it’s just so tricky to demand level one voices on checkout days and allow for the volume level appropriate to mirth on the other days. When I was very clear before-hand it went better. After a particularly raucous session, I told the fourth graders who came in next “this is not a birthday party. This is not a play date ion your friend’s basement. This is us, learning how to problem solve together, and I need a level two voice for this to happen.”

They were great and I held an impromptu challenge of creating a known structure. Quick as lightning we had the White House and two versions of the downtown Clock Tower. And something else very tall. My other favorites, as well as students’ favorites, are the KEVA PLANKS (click to investigate) and good old-fashioned Lego. On the right, do you recognize the POTUS built by a second grader?


Posted in Award Winning Books, Best Books

Washington Children’s Choice Vote!

They may not have any impact on the selection of Newbery or Caldecott Awards, or presidential elections, but the first through third graders in Mead School District (and across and have had their say about which children’s book wins the Children’s Choice Picture Book Award! We have been reading (actually the students have been listening and discussing, Mrs. Henning and myself have been reading) the nominees for the past six weeks. We voted for our favorites on Friday, April 14, 2017

At Midway, our overwhelming choice was I’m Trying To Love Spiders by Bethany Barton. We followed the charming story about TRYING to get used to and appreciate spiders (awesome gross fact: one spider eats 75 pounds of insects every year!!) with further research about spiders on Pebble Go, our favorite database for primary grades.

At Colbert, our top choice was Mummy Cat by Marcus Ewert. I think it’s because I talked about it being a meaningful and clever example of prose, which is long form poetry, AND it’s National Poetry Month. Also, it was the last book I read and fresh in their minds. I’m pretty sure that if I’d re-read the “Spiders” book, more students would have voted at Colbert, as well. Both schools loved Nerdy Birdy, too!(by Aaron Reynolds) We will see in the next few months who the statewide winner was!

Posted in Coding, Hour of Code, programming, Trending technology

Coding: A Global Movement

For the second year, my library classes–yes, even the first graders, are learning computer programming by using code.org. WHY? Because kids of all ages and languages can speak it (like math, coding is a universal language) and “Computer science drives innovation throughout the US economy, but it remains marginalized throughout K-12 education.” According to the code.org website, “Only 33 states allow students to count computer science courses toward high school graduation. There are currently 517,393 open computing jobs nationwide. Last year, only 42,969 computer science students graduated into the workforce.”

coding1That’s a big gap!! Washington state is one of only FIVE states which dedicates funding to computer science. Right now, there are 26,000 computer science jobs in our state, and 1100 graduates to fill them. As I told my students, if I could go back in time, I wouldn’t avoid classes and activities that weren’t “right brain” activities, which I was comfortable learning–those which dealt with drawing and painting and writing. I’d learn to love and find my place in math and science, because I’ve always felt that so much of the world was closed to me by not having skills in these vast and important fields.

An actual second grader having an actual blast coding

Hour of Code is a global movement. Find out why in this darling and motivating video below.

Why kids should code



Posted in Awesome Apps, graphic design, programming

World Clouds: Our favorite Infographics

Initially an exercise to honor World Kindness Week, students used the Tagul.com application to generate “Kindness Word Clouds” to express and spread their own perceptions of what kindness means to them. Then, students liked the customization of their lists so much they began creating gifts for loved ones. My daughter used it to make a Christmas Wish List. And I used it to create a picture summary for staff about what we’ve been working on in Library for the past month. I love Tagul because it doesn’t require additional software (some require Microsoft Silverlight) and can be used on any device. We recommend writing a list of words on a separate document rather than typing them straight into the available text box.screen-shot-2016-12-01-at-3-33-19-pmscreen-shot-2016-12-01-at-3-34-13-pmAnyway, here’s the cool images that emerge! Two are from the Tagul website shapes menu and two are downloaded from custom images. Use and have fun!