LEGO In Focus: Explore the Miniature World of LEGO Photography
– LEGO –
Published 4 October 2022
LEGO, such versatile stuff. And a book featuring LEGO makes such a beautiful coffee table book, glossy photos into another world. There are lots of beautiful books that feature LEGO creations. Beautiful LEGO is one of my favs and now LEGO in Focus is right there with it.
LEGO Heroes: LEGO Builders Changing Our World – One Brick At A Time
– Graham E. Hancock –
Published 16 May 2023
I am a massive fan of LEGO, the LEGO story and how play is integral to both. We all know that LEGO can be used in many different ways and as creatively as your imagination allows, but did you know that LEGO can help make a prosthetic arm or rebuild a reef? Continue reading
Think Like A Goat: The Wildly Smart Ways Animals Communicate, Cooperate and Innovate
– Lisa Deresti Betik and Alexander Mostov (ill.) –
Kids Can Press
Published 3 October 2023
Many people probably think that innovation and creativity is exclusively a human thing. They’d be wrong. Animals are highly innovative. Think Like A Goat invites readers to discover just how creative the animals around us are.
Running both a school library and an Innovation Precinct, supporting creative thinking, prototyping and product making, means I am always on the lookout for new educational resources to engage my students. When I was offered the chance to try Spintronics, I jumped at it. I am a massive fan of the Turing Tumbles, which are made by the same creators of the Spintronics.
There is lots to love about Spintronics, so let’s beak it down.
Do you love Lego? How about your school library users? I bet they love Lego. If you are like me and love having hands-on activities in your school library or makerspace, you probably want to have some Lego. But it can be extremely expensive and hard to buy in bulk. I had the incredible Mel from St Joesph’s Nudgee College recommend Bricktastics to me and I am so grateful she did.
What is Bricktastics?
Bricktastics is an Australia company that sell second-hand Lego. The buy and source pre-loved Lego, sort it into packs and then sell it. They cater specifically to education settings with their bulk packs, and donate to education and children in countries who need it. They have also launched their own Bricktastic Bricks. While based in Australia, they do ship internationally.
The Secrets of LEGO House
– Jesus Diaz –
Published 10 August 2021
Since watching a documentary about The Lego House, I’ve been intrigued with its design and purpose. So, when I saw this book, I knew I just had to read it.
If I Built A School – Chris Van Dusen – If I Built #3 – Dial Books – Published 13 August 2019
If Jack built a school, there would be hover desks and pop-up textbooks, skydiving wind tunnels and a trampoline basketball court in the gym, a robo-chef to serve lunch in the cafeteria, field trips to Mars, and a whole lot more. The inventive boy who described his ideal car and house in previous books is dreaming even bigger this time.
If I Built A School is Chris Van Dusen’s third If I Built… picture book. Brilliantly coloured spreads full of wonderful imaginings provide the perfect leaping off point to spark children’s own creativity. If I Built A School is more like If I Built a fun park. From glass tube travel ports and spaceships to holograms and water slides, Jack’s school design is wild and heaps of fun.
While the inclusions in Jack’s school are perhaps not exactly surprising, it is the leap of creativity and the passing of design over to the child that I really like. As Jack tours his teacher around the school, introducing her to his plans and reasoning behind them, even sometimes admitting that he doesn’t yet have all the details on how something might actually work, it is the creativity that is passed into his hands and his teacher’s looks of wonder that I most appreciate (especially her considered look at the existing brick school box at the close of the book).
There is so much that one could do with children after reading this book. Having children design their own school is just one simple activity. Working with DIY holograms is an easy tech-related activity, while in-depth discussion, for example, about Jack’s decision to have animals sequestered into small enclosures just inside the entrance of his school could spark much-needed conversation about the relationship between animals and humans.
The Unwanteds – Lisa McMann – Aladdin – Published 30 August 2011
When Alex finds out he is Unwanted, he expects to die. That is the way of the people of Quill. Each year, all the thirteen-year-olds are labeled as Wanted, Necessary, or Unwanted. Wanteds get more schooling and train to join the Quillitary. Necessaries keep the farms running. Unwanteds are set for elimination.
It’s hard for Alex to leave behind his twin, Aaron, a Wanted, but he makes peace with his fate—until he discovers that instead of a “death farm,” what awaits him is a magical place called Artimé. There, Alex and his fellow Unwanteds are encouraged to cultivate their creative abilities and use them magically. Everything Alex has ever known changes before his eyes, and it’s a wondrous transformation.
But it’s a rare, unique occurrence for twins to be divided between Wanted and Unwanted, and as Alex and Aaron’s bond stretches across their separation, a threat arises for the survival of Artimé that will pit brother against brother in an ultimate magical battle.
I was forced to read this book. It has quickly become a favourite amongst my book club members and I was fearful that my membership (despite being the group leader) was going to be revoked if I, too, did not read it. I was also intrigued when those same readers said they would rather go to Artimè from the Unwanteds than Hogwarts from Harry Potter. I thought that a) it was obviously a fantastic book or b) they were all crazy. Now I have read it for myself and, while it is certainly a fun book that teems with creativity and fresh ideas, I would still (and will probably always) choose Hogwarts, should my letter ever finally arrive.
I cannot overstate the popularity this book has amassed in the last few months at our school. It has been quickly passed from hand to hand, spreading through word of mouth and recommendations. The middle-school boys have been the driving force behind the fandom, but girls from that age group, and older, have equally loved it. And I can understand why. The Unwanteds is the ideal book for readers – those who value creativity and imagination for whom simple articles of stationary or clay or drawings or anything can always be more than they first appear.
Dot Day Display
Have you read The Dot by Pete H. Reynolds? It is one of my favourite picture books. I love its message of creativity and having a go.
International Dot Day is celebrated on the 15th (ish) of September. This year we celebrated International Dot Day by creating a special Dot display.
I printed off a load of blank dots – easily made with Word and the circle shape. Inspired by the story, the students created their own dot. Emoji and Pokemon symbols were popular choices for the students, while others created beautiful patterns. I also printed off some celebri-dots from the celebri-dots website, to provide some inspiration.
I then made a giant dot out of all our little dots and added the quote “Just make a mark and see where it takes you” to the bottom of the display. It was a great way to incorporate student artwork into a display.
Find more information about International Dot Day from the Dot Club website and my International Dot Day post.