Alva Review-Courier -

Learning about bats at the Freedom School Library


October 15, 2020

Mike Caywood from Alabaster Caverns gives students a close look at a live bat.

On Sept. 25 Mike Caywood from Alabaster Caverns State Park visited the Freedom School Library and gave an informative presentation about bats. Students learned such things as how many mosquitoes one small bat can eat, that a bat is the only flying mammal, and that their skeleton resembles a human's much more than a bird or anything else.

Caywood brought in a live bat that he had just taken out of the cave. Everyone was excited to see it and glad to know it would not hurt them or get hurt. He was careful to inform them that he would put it back in the cave right where he found it.

His helper, Sam, appeared in a bat costume and posed for selfies with the students.

Reading Corner Expands to Include Media Viewing

Ms. Contreraz recently brought her U.S. history class into the library to watch "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee," a movie based on the book by Dee Brown that tells the story of the American West. It includes events leading up to the massacre of hundreds of Lakota Sioux in South Dakota in 1890.

Freedom School has received a Continuous School Improvement Grant that allowed us to purchase technology, curriculum, professional development, and a school sound system to help with community involvement and communication. In the last year we have installed new smart projectors and big screens in all classrooms. The school has purchased Apple TVs and new document cameras to work with the new desktop computers at each teacher's desk, plus lap tops and tablets for every student, new curriculum which means lots of new text books for students and numerous other good things.

Vooks Streaming Service

The Vooks streaming service for children's storybooks is used on the big screen in the library. Vooks helps students learn to read. (To learn more about Vooks, visit This week Mrs. Province likes the title "Leaves," by Janet Lawler, which presents the timeless wonder of autumn leaves. "Leaves" includes elaborate pop-up illustrations and educational information that offers change and surprise in this lyrical look at autumn.

What's a Makerspace?

One of the new books by Paige V. Polinsky explains makerspaces pretty well. Imagine a place busy with people sketching, coloring and doodling. Wide-open spaces invite you to plan, design, draw and color. Colored pencils, crayons, markers and other supplies surround you. Every material you can dream of is at your fingertips! This is a makerspace. It is a place where people come together to create all kinds of cool stuff. Makers share sparks of creativity. They love to learn something new. They work together to design and create wonderful coloring and doodling projects.

The Freedom library has started a makerspace with the help of our Institute of Museum and Library Services grant. Students are invited to come in and see what you can make.

The third and fourth grades came down to the makerspace on Friday, Oct 2, and did an activity from the color and doodling title. Their reading class is planning to come to the library on Fridays to work on different STEAM projects. STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics. Reading is involved in all those areas.

Wild Readers Are Back

These are some of the Makerspace project titles in the library.

As previously announced, the library received a grant to help us promote reading and creativity and collaboration with our students in pre-K through 12th grades. More students are needed to take advantage of the opportunities that the makerspace and Reading Corner provide. The library encourages students to read for their enjoyment, whether it is a book in hand or one digitally delivered to their phone, tablet or laptop.

The idea of starting a special time in the library before school has been kicked around. The school is not sure if this morning time would work for any of our students to attend. Some of the bus riders get here pretty early, so some thought was given to something for them to do to use their time wisely. Think about this seriously. Would some students commit to Tuesday and/or Thursday mornings early, maybe 7:15 until 7:45 a.m., and then go eat breakfast?

The library is planning to do an after-school time on Mondays and Wednesdays. Plans are to begin this special extra time for students on Oct. 26. Students will use some of the things in the makerspace during the special times,


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