Category Archives: Summer of Learning

Teen Tech Week

On March 8-14, Kitsap Regional Library joins many other public libraries around the country in celebrating Teen Tech Week. Teen Tech Week gives libraries the chance to show teens all of the new technology features found in their libraries. This enables teens to become more technologically savvy and confident. This is something that is crucial for young people as they develop into 21st century career professionals in an increasingly tech-driven world. Here at the Kitsap Regional Library, we see this initiative as something we proudly offer every week of the year. Through our STEM and BiblioTEC programming, digital databases and e-resources, we share with teens the digital tools and equipment that will help them succeed in school and beyond.

We ask every teen in our community to visit their local library and learn about all of the useful digital resources we have to offer. Our librarians and staff are happy to share this knowledge.

With our downloadable resources, you can download books and audio books, free music and magazines.

With our databases, you can get homework help and learn a new language, just to name a few.

With our STEM and BiblioTEC programming, we offer teens a chance to learn about all sorts of technology topics including 3D printing and game design. Check out weekly events here.

Please stop by  your local library and ask our staff about all of the digital resources and programming we offer.



STEM Learning

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. When I was in school, we learned these subjects separately. Rarely did my math class discuss science or technology concepts. Yet all these subjects go hand in hand when they are applied to any project.

With the STEM learning approach, educators combine science, technology, engineering and math concepts into every cohesive lesson. Participants learn that when these subjects are used together, each enhances the other. By applying these topics towards projects that are tailored to the participant’s learning styles and passions, this interest-driven learning is helping to inspire children and prepare them for important 21st century career paths. As the STEM-related job world grows, employees possessing computing, engineering, physical, life sciences and mathematics skills will be increasingly sought after.

In a real-world job, an engineer would rely on scientific findings, advancements in technology and mathematic equations to determine how to approach a project. The same idea is being introduced in educational institutions and after school programs. This is often being done in a connected learning environment, where participants are both learning these important subjects and also teaching them to each other. Their skill sets are strengthened as they work in teams to complete a project. Problem solving, critical thinking and collaboration are all key parts of the connective learning STEM approach.

Along with many other after school programs in the community, STEM learning has become an important part of library programming, particularly in our Summer of Learning programming, which begins on the first week of June. Check out the KRL events calendar for upcoming STEM and other fun programming.

Learning happens everywhere.

Interested in learning more about local and national STEM learning?Check out:

West Sound STEM

Next Generation Science Standards


Summer of Learning Design Challenge #12: Code Academy

Check in here every Friday for a new Design Challenge. We will provide you with ideas for a full summer of fun things to make and do. It is all part of summer fun for kids and teens at the Kitsap Regional Library.

We all surf the web, play video games and use apps. But how are these things built? How are they maintained?

The answer is, by learning how to code! And the cool thing is, everyone can code. Especially, with help from a website like Code Academy.

Photo Credit:
Photo Credit:


Code Academy offers you a fun and easy way to learn a variety of computer languages. Build a website or blog with HTML/CSS, make games with JavaScript and see how Facebook is powered with PHP.


Photo Credit: Seth Ciotti
Photo Credit: Seth Ciotti


Using interactive lessons, Code Academy walks you through each step of learning a language as you apply it to completing a project.


Photo Credit:
Photo Credit:


Once you complete a language lesson, you’ve developed programming skills! Code Academy has all sorts of fun projects you can work on with your new programming language skills. Build games or apps with ease.

Now you can show off your knowledge with a detailed profile. Share your computer programming skills, earn digital badges and join groups to find others interested in coding.

Photo Credit: Seth Ciotti
Photo Credit: Seth Ciotti


So go to the site, make a FREE account and start coding.  Create the next great phone app, video game or website.

We’d love to see what you come up with. Email your photos to Digital Branch Manager, Jean Charters, at for possible inclusion in a future blog post (under 1 MB file size please) or stop by your library to show off your creativity.

Summer of Learning Design Challenge #12: Recycle Newspaper Into a Papier Mache Mask

What do you do with the newspaper when you’re finished reading it?  Try recycling it into a papier mache mask.  All you  need is newspaper, flour, water, and a balloon.

Blow up a balloon, but don’t pop it.  The size of the balloon will be the size of your mask.

Source: KirstinM
Photo Credit: KirstinM

This project will be messy, so lay down a plastic garbage bag or something similar to protect your work space.  Then, tear the newspaper into strips (these can be long or short—it depends on the size of your balloon).  Make enough strips to put 3-4 layers on top your balloon.

Photo credit: KirstinM
Photo credit: KirstinM

Mix together 1 cup of flour and 2 cups of water very well and pour the mixture into a shallow container.  Lay each strip of paper in the mixture to soak up paste.  Lift it up and run it between your thumb and fingers to get rid of excess paste before laying it on the balloon.  Gently run your finger over the strip to press it securely on the balloon.

Alternate laying strips on the balloon vertically and horizontally—this allows you to see which layer you’re working on.

Photo Credit: KirstinM
Photo Credit: KirstinM

After two layers, allow the paste to dry completely, then, add the third and fourth layers.  Put your balloon on top of something that allows air to circulate around it.   Allow several hours for your project to dry fully.

Carefully pop the balloon with a pin or needle.

Design Challenge - Papier-Mache Masks4 010

Use scissors to cut the balloon in half.  You should have two separate mask blanks to work with.   Design Challenge - Papier-Mache Masks5 011

Cut a bit off of the top or bottom or sides, if you wish!

Design Challenge - Papier-Mache Masks6 012Design Challenge - Papier-Mache Masks7 013

Mark on the mask where you want eye or nose or mouth holes to go and carefully cut them out.  Remember:  if you are going to wear your mask, make sure that your eyes and the eye holes in the mask line up.  Paint your mask or decorate it in other ways—add feathers, ribbon, glitter, pompons, yarn—whatever you have on hand.

Design Challenge #12 - Papier-Mache Mask2

What else can you make out of newspaper?  Bowls, hats, pinatas, puppets, noisemakers, rainsticks—the list goes on!  Take a look inside these books to find other fun things to create using papier mache.

papier mache monsters  creating papier mache  papier mache


Summer of Learning Design Challenge #11: Minecraft Papercrafts

Check in here every Friday for a new Design Challenge. We will provide you with ideas for a full summer of fun things to make and do. It is all part of summer fun for kids and teens at the Kitsap Regional Library.

I’m sure that many of you have heard by now that Minecraft is totally blowing up. Granted, the game is tons of fun but have you ever wanted to make your own unique characters outside the pixel-world?  Well, apparently the ancient art of paper folding (Origami) has finally crossed paths with the virtual gaming community and now here’s your chance to create your very own 3D Minecraft world.

DSCF3713 by Javi G Ch on Flickr
hide your kids, hide your wife by Klara on Flickr

First off, you will need a computer and a printer. If you don’t have access to both at home feel free to visit your Kitsap Regional Library. Next you will need to pick out your favorite characters. Or do you happen to already have your own skin? Don’t panic, you can use that too!

Next take a visit to where you can either enter in your Minecraft username or search the site by Character, Mobs, Blocks or Items until you find the template that you want to print out. You can also create a design with one of these handy apps on your smart phone or tablet:
Free app for Android: Papercraft for Minecraft
Free app for iPhone or iPad: Papercraft: Minecraft Addition 

Finally you will need a pair of scissors and some glue.  After you print your Minecraft template it’s easy to follow and all it requires is some cutting, folding and a little glue here and there.

Here is a tutorial that will help during the construction process of your Minecraft world:

(From Minecraft Paper Studio)

Trust me,  you are now only just beginning to find your very own 3D Minecraft vision but it’s time to think outside the box (or pixel). Maybe you’ll want to start out with something interactive and design your very own chess set?

Papercraft Minecraft by Interested Bystandr on Flickr

Or go big just in time for Halloween?

Mine(Paper)Craft Day – GameCity 8 by nottinghamgamecity on Flickr

Or maybe you just want to see how your new characters get along once they’re brought to life. Will they build new worlds together or will they merely try to survive until nightfall?

Minecraft paper models by Rob Allen on Flikr

Either way, your options are limitless and all you need is a little time and dedication. An obsession for Minecraft might help too.

Don’t forget to checkout these many helpful resources in our Catalog:

Books on Origami:

origami henry     fabulous origami boxes   usborne origami

Books on Minecraft (gaming):

minecraft redstone   minecraft construction   minecraft combat

minecraft essential  minecraft 70 large  minecraft dummies

minecraft markus  ultimate players minecraft

We’d love to see what you come up with. Email your photos to Digital Branch Manager, Jean Charters, at for possible inclusion in a future blog post (under 1 MB file size please) or stop by your library to show off your creativity.


The Times They are A-Changin’

Public libraries are no longer just about paper books. That fact may surprise you if you haven’t used a library lately. In point of fact, my library is a lively noisy place which hums with activity.

As you come through our front door you may observe the library being used by many groups at the same time. Off to your left is a story time with over 40 children in the audience. They hang on the youth services librarian’s every word as she tells the story of Crictor [the boa-constrictor] on a flannel board.


In the teen room the anime club and the teen services librarian are watching anime and cheering loudly as the film’s heroine finally rescues her parents at the end of the film.

At the reference desk staff is teaching patrons how to download free music and audiobooks from the library’s Overdrive site. At the other counter patrons are checking out dvd sets which contain some of the hottest shows on television (Downton Abbey, Orange is the New Black, Game of Thrones-you get the idea). At least one of our libraries is even planning to provide a Makerspace for people who don’t have the creative space they need at home.

As one can tell after reading above, libraries are excellent at re-inventing themselves. One of our most recent (and best) re-inventions has been the transformation of the Summer Reading program into the Summer of Learning program for both teens and kids!

What is Summer of Learning? The original Summer of Learning program was created by Johns Hopkins 14 years ago. It was the spinoff of an ongoing program which was created in Baltimore, Maryland (Braun, 2013). In a nutshell, the Summer of Learning goal is to help students continue to learn during the summer (a period of time which is infamous for “summer slide” aka a decrease in learning).

Although KRL has conducted many Summer of Learning activities this summer the crème de la crème has to be the four teen field trips to Seattle. Up to forty teens at a time were taken to Seattle via the ferry system to go to the SAM, Frye, MOHAI and Wing Luke museums (all free of charge).

Wing Luke Museum
Wing Luke Asian Museum by Jason Brackins on Flickr

The trip participants got to learn about art, music, glass, chocolate, intolerance and history in addition to many other things. These were hugely successful and satisfying trips that the teens will remember for the rest of their lives.

The library has been helping people learn for a very long time and I am very proud that we are continuing our tradition by helping people find new and better ways to learn. Go KRL and Summer of Learning!

Braun, L. (2013, December 2).
What’s This Thing Called Summer of Learning? Retrieved 8/1/2014 from

Summer of Learning Design Challenge #10: CD Crafts

Check in here every Friday for a new Design Challenge. We will provide you with ideas for a full summer of fun things to make and do. It is all part of summer fun for kids and teens at the Kitsap Regional   Library.

This blog post is written by Patty, the Port Orchard branch Intern!

CDs are great for crafting! You might not realize it, but these shiny disks do more than just play music! With a few old CDs or DVDs you can join in the fun of creating something new!

Disc Decorations: CD's on a Gate by cobalt123 on Flickr
Disc Decorations: CD’s on a Gate by cobalt123 on Flickr

A lot of people have old disks that they don’t want or use anymore, if you don’t have any, ask around! Or, if all else fails, you can buy blank CDs and DVDs at the store to use.

You can make cool hanging things like this one or use your imagination to create something unique to you! You can create wind chimes, mobiles, and even chandeliers!

DSC05573 by shazam791 on Flickr
DSC05573 by shazam791 on Flickr

Other ideas you can try are make a disco ball or Christmas ornament! Or, you can make coasters or candle holders! Anything you can imagine! This website and this one can give you some ideas.

The incredible christmas CD-lamp by JaulaDeArdilla on Flickr
The incredible christmas CD-lamp by JaulaDeArdilla on Flickr

You can decorate the CDs with yarn or make cool scratch art! Or, use whatever is around! Paint, newspaper, magazine pages, fake fur, fabric, jewels, and beads can all be used to make something unique! Decorate your walls with old CDs either whole or make a mosaic (be warned, the broken pieces can be sharp, so adult supervision is recommended)!

One idea I really liked was making your own book out of a CD!

With some old CDs and other things around the house you can do all kinds of things!  For more recycled crafts check out these books at the library: Recycled Crafts Box by Laura Martin


Every Day is Earth Day by Kathy Ross

every day is earth day


Fun with Recycling by Marion Elliot or Earth-Friendly Crafts for Kids by Heather Smith and Joe Rhatigan, and any of the other recycled crafts books that the library has to offer!

We’d love to see what you come up with. Email your photos to Digital Branch Manager, Jean Charters, at for possible inclusion in a future blog post (under 1 MB file size please) or stop by your library to show off your creativity.