Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Learning | Breadboards

Here's an engineering term for you: breadboard.  What do you think it is?  

I would understand if you guessed that it was a wooden board used for slicing bread.  

Fresh Loaf 5023, 
from Andrew Menage's photostream on
Some rights reserved.

But in this case, it isn't. Read on, and I'll get to the explanation, after the definition.

Engineers use the noun breadboard to describe a board used to make an experimental model of an electric circuit.  

It's usually plastic, with a whole bunch of holes in it, like the one in the picture below. 

Portable GPS decoder - breadboard,
from Steve's photostream on
Some rights reserved.
Breadboard is also used as a verb, meaning to build an experimental circuit.

Learning to Use a Breadboard, from Bryan Kennedy's photostream on
Some rights reserved.
The use of the word breadboard in this way came from the days when electronic components were much larger.  Electronic hobbyists would actually nail copper wires to a wooden board when they were making prototypes. Some of them actually borrowed their mothers' breadboards from the kitchen to do this. (Shame on them!)

If you're interested in building experimental circuits, you may be interested in some of these books on electronics.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Ms. Suzy Reads | Sam, Bangs & Moonshine

"Moonshine is flummadiddle. Real is the opposite." So explains Bangs, the cat, to Sam, short for Samantha, in the timeless treasure Sam, Bangs & Moonshine by Evaline Ness.

Samantha, or rather Sam, has a problem telling the difference between what is real and what is not. She claims to have a mermaid for a mother, a fierce lion, a baby kangaroo and a talking cat. Sam's father admonishes her to tell the truth: "Today, for a change, talk real, not moonshine. Moonshine spells trouble."

And trouble might be just what Sam gets when she sends her friend Thomas to Blue Rock where she claims her baby kangaroo has gone. Thomas dutifully follows instructions, but then a sudden storm threatens everything.

I won't say anymore, except that this is a beautiful little story that gently teaches the reason why truth is better than falsehood. It's appropriate for a family reading time, or for an independent reader to read on his own.  

This book was awarded the Caldecott Medal in 1967. The Caldecott Medal is presented annually to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children. Click here for a list of Caldecott Medal winners over the years. SSJCPL branches own most of these distinguished books; check them out and share them with your family!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Just Life| Halloween

Halloween is one of my favorite Holidays. I love candies, I love to go costume shopping for my daughter and for sure, I love to give away candies to our neighborhood kids. 

And I am proud to say that I give away good candies. Who wants to get stuck with bad Halloween candies for months right?

Since I love Halloween, we have two Halloween programs at Margaret Troke Library in Stockton. Our address is:502 West Benjamin Holt Drive, Stockton.
Our Halloween programs are:

  • Halloween Preschool Story time & Craft On Tuesday, October 28th at 10:15am. For this program, we are going to read scary stories, and kids can decorate pumpkins to take home. Kids are encouraged to wear their Halloween costumes and there will be a costume parade in the library.
  • Halloween Arts and Crafts on Thursday, October 30th at 6:00pm. For this program, we are going to have a costume parade, pumpkin decorating, and of course a candy give away.

Hope to see you at Troke on these two days. If you live in another library, click on: Library Event Calendar for more fun programs.

Happy Halloween everyone!

Signing off until next Monday- Panteha

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Learning | Learning a Language

My high school required each student to take at least two years of a foreign language. I had the luxury of choosing from Spanish, French, Italian, Latin, German and Russian. I heard many of my fellow students say they were taking Spanish, because they thought it was easy, or French, because they were of French heritage.  

I chose the German language. I am not even of German descent, but somewhere I had read that English was a Germanic language, and I hoped it would give me some insight into some Old English words. I enjoyed studying German so much, I took three years in high school...and then minored in German as an undergraduate.

Maybe I enjoyed the German language so much because of my teacher.   Frau Schueler was a native of Russia, but spent her childhood in Germany during the years leading up to World War II. Oh, and she was Jewish. She obviously had a love of words, and was happy to answer my questions about where words came from, or whether they were related to English words that seemed similar. 

It was all too easy to convince her to stop in the middle of a lesson and tell us stories about other countries.  She lived in a suburb of New Orleans, but left during summer break to travel all over the world.  Which meant she could say things like,"I never met a  Norwegian who did not speak perfect English," with such authority.

Der Zug ist noch nicht abgefahren (The train has not left yet.) 
From Ingrid Eulenfan's photostream on Some rights reserved.

I'll always remember her lesson about the prefixes an- and ab-. The verbs for arrive and depart are very similar, so she warned us to be careful with our prefixes. "If you mix up your an- and ab-, (snap!) whoops! you are on the wrong train!"

Julia Schueler became a published author, long after I was in her classroom.  Her biography, Elsewhere: A Memoir, is available through Link+. 

If you are studying a foreign language, or would like to study one, you can find help at the library.  I did a search for foreign language learning on SSJCPL's shiny new catalog.  Here are the results.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Ms. Suzy Reads | A Bear Called Paddington

Hello, gentle readers! It's been quite a while since I've posted here, but I'm back with a bit of a twist. From today forward, this little blog shall be a place for me to share my absolute favorite read-aloud books. 

Sometimes I will share a great preschool storytime book, other times a great book to read aloud to the whole family. If I'm feeling particularly creative, I'll throw in some related activities to make the reading experience even more fun!

Whatever book finds itself in this little blog, I hope you will enjoy sharing the love of reading with the young people in your life.

Let us begin.

A Bear Called Paddington, by Michael Bond, is a delightful story to read aloud to children of all ages. And older children (ages 7 and up) can read it on their own!

It tells the tale of Paddington, an unusually small bear from 'Darkest Peru' who is discovered by the Brown family at London's Paddington Station and quickly becomes an unforgettable part of the family. Paddington is the center of many laugh-out-loud escapades -- from the almost disastrous bath to the accident in the store window. Children will love this endearing little bear with wonderful manners and a great thirst for adventure!

Paddington's adventures are coming to film! The movie is slated to hit theaters later this year. 

In the meantime, explore Paddington's London a little more in M. Sasek's This is Britain. The first pages feature beautiful drawings of and interesting fact about London, including Buckingham Palace, Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square. 

"The single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading is reading aloud to children." --Report of the Commission on Reading.

Share the love of reading with a child!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Just Life| Madam President. Oui Oui

In my opinion, we need a woman president ASAP.  Here is a wonderful picture book called" Madam President" that gives the little ones a glimpse into the life of a president.

The book starts with: " A president has many duties.....There are daily briefs to review, photo ops to shoot, treaties to negotiate and things to veto etc etc".

There are also many new Secretaries. For example, Secretary of Naps and Secretary of Soccer.

Take a look at the Secretary of Interior. He is a character.

I am hoping this book is going to encourage more girls to get into politics. 

That would benefit us all. 

For example, paid maternity leave in the U.S should be much more than what it is now.

In Sweden, parents are allowed to take off 480 days per child and get paid 80% of their salaries. 

U.S is nowhere near that.

Anyway, I should stop digressing from the topic. This book is short and sweet. 

Madam President is written by Lane Smith. You can find his books in your local library.

Grandpa Green
Abe Lincoln's dream

It's a book 

Signing off until next Monday- Mother of a future president.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Learning | You say Biro, I say Bic

I had to look up the word biro last week. I saw it in an eBook, as part of the description of the items on a desk. (I wish I could remember which book, but I read several eBooks around that time.)  

Anyway, I learned that biro is a word for a ball point pen in the United Kingdom.  Biro was a brand name, that came to be used for all ball point pens.  You know; like how we have a tendency to refer to all facial tissues by the brand name of Kleenex.  

Insist on genuine Biro (cropped) from John Lord's photostream on Flickr.comSome rights reserved.

As I already said, I can't remember which of the eBooks I read last week had the word biro in it. But I can wholeheartedly recommend one of those books, if you are looking for a scary story for a student in grades 5-8. 

That book is Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book. I read it when it was first published, in 2008, but it was so good, that I read it all over again in eBook form. I just might read it again some day. It's about a little boy named Nobody Owens, who is raised by ghosts in a graveyard. My co-worker, Amy, pointed out the similarity to Mowgli, who was raised by wild animals in Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book. Neil Gaiman recommends that his readers also read The Jungle Book.

If you decide to read, or reread, The Graveyard Book, keep your eyes peeled for the possible use of the word biro. Let me know if you see it.