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  • Writer's pictureThe Mischievous Librarian

(Original Post: October 17, 2021)

Two classes went on a Stop Motion adventure with me in Term 2 (January 2021). We used our classroom iPads and the Stop Motion Studio app to create our own short films.

Division 1 (Grade 4/5) spent nine library blocks creating LEGO stop action films while Division 5 (Grade 2/3) used a collaboration block to create stop action films using toys from home.

First, both classes watched the Youtube tutorial, How to film Lego Stop Motion! Beginners Tutorial. Drew from Nation of Bricks explains the concepts of lighting and flicker simply and with great examples.

Next, we practiced using the Stop Motion Studio app with rubber ducks as props. Students moved their ducks across the screen and quickly came to understand that smaller movements over many frames was ideal for creating a smoother duck walk.

Division 1 went on to create LEGO walls and props on base plates. Walls were limited to three colours so that the props and mini figures of different colours would stand out. Walls ten-layers in height prevented the library from showing in the frames... if students were careful and remained aware during filming.

Each group brought mini figures from home as the library figures have disappeared over the years. Groups discussed plot lines as they created their LEGO sets.

​Surprisingly, set and props creation took four 30-minute classes leaving five classes for filming and editing.

Division 5 shot their films in one day using 2.5 hours of collaboration time. The classroom teacher divided the long library counter into small working areas using painter’s tape.

​Some groups brought homemade backdrops while other groups simply used the blank brick wall behind the counter. The students were encouraged to rest the iPad on the counter to prevent shaking in the frames. Once a group decided upon an angle for the iPad, the classroom teacher marked the iPad's spot on the counter with painter's tape so that the group knew where to reposition the iPad if they had to remove it from the counter for any reason during the filming.

We were not entirely successful in preventing flicker (inconsistent light changes over a series of frames). However, we learned that adding a desk lamp helped and taping the LEGO base plate on a stationary countertops using painter’s tape reduced the flicker considerably. One group brought their own desk lamp from home!

The groups added sound effects and dialogue during the editing process and some more experienced students added title frames and credits.

We hope to use these skills to demonstrate learning in other academic areas during the following year. It was so much fun!

The compilation videos can be viewed here:

Division 1 Stop Motion Videos

Division 5 Stop Motion Videos

  • Writer's pictureThe Mischievous Librarian

(Original Post: March 7, 2021)

Can Grade 2/3 students “bind” their own books?

Yes, they can… with a little scaffolding and a whole lot of creativity!

This project was inspired by the bookbinding workshops I took with Nancy Dawes. Nancy is an incredible and inspiring artist, a Certified Zentangle Teacher (CZT), and a trained bookbinder. Nancy was so methodical in breaking down each step of the process that I knew that one day I could teach my students to bind their own books in the library.

Fast forward to Spring 2021, and such an opportunity presented itself when the Grade 2/3 teacher enlisted my help in making writing “fun”. We wanted the students to have a special place to free write that wasn’t in their typical half-lined journals.

So, we made our own writing books.

Set Up

We “cheated” by buying colourful lined notebooks from the dollar store to save time and avoid using sewing needles. I would do this again in a heartbeat for any primary grades.

I found "free" fabric in the art room and the students chose from three colours.

Students also chose inside front/back cover paper.

I traced and cut out the front/back covers and spine pieces out of chipboard and fabric to speed up the process.

Day 1

1. Front and back OUTSIDE covers

  • Dab bookbinding glue on chipboard (sponge brushes)

  • Place chipboard in the middle of the fabric

  • Fold over fabric corners and glue

  • Fold over fabric edges and glue

2. Spine

  • Dab glue on spine chipboard

  • Place chipboard in the middle of the fabric

  • Fold over fabric top and bottom and glue *Don’t fold or glue the sides

Day 2

1. Attach spine to covers

  • Dab glue on spine fabric edges

  • Lay front and back covers onto the spine fabric edges

  • Press down and count to 100

2. Front and back INSIDE covers

  • Dab glue on coloured paper (sponge brushes)

  • Place paper over the exposed chipboard *Dab a little extra glue on the corners!

  • Press down and count to 100​

3. Spine INSIDE fabric

  • Dab glue on fabric (sponge brushes)

  • Place fabric over exposed spine chipboard

Day 3

1. Glue writing pad on back INSIDE cover

2. Add bling to the front OUTSIDE cover


  • I recommend wearing smocks and putting tarps over the tables.

  • Glue: PVA Adhesive ( I used the brand Neutral pH Adhesive).

  • Make sure to soak/wash the sponges as soon as the students are finished using them. I had a bucket of warm soapy water available on my desk.

  • Use one paper plate between 2 students for glue

  • Set up a “drying place” on a counter with students names on sticky notes. This way students know where to find/put their books during drying times.

  • Bling: sequence/flat beads from the dollar store

  • Write their names inside the front covers at the end

The students thoroughly enjoyed the process. I even found a few of them during recess writing poems and stories in their new books!

  • Writer's pictureThe Mischievous Librarian

(Original Post: March 7, 2021)

In November 2020, I became a Certified Zentangle Teacher® through Rick Roberts & Maria Thomas's

CZT Seminar held on Zoom.

​I was introduced to the Zentangle Method® by CZT Natasha Dash ( in June 2017. The Zentangle Method® has brought me much peace in times of anxiety, especially during the current pandemic.

As I continued my tangling journey, I realized that my students could greatly benefit from learning and participating in tangling. This is one of the main reasons I decided to be certified by Zentangle Headquarters.

My grand plans of after school tangle clubs and rainy day tangling in the library have been put on hold due to COVID-19. Instead, I’ve scaled back and started by introducing tangling to one class, Division 4.

During our collaboration time, the Grade 3 and 4 students eagerly participated in my very first Basics 101 class. For over an hour, the students eagerly tangled their first tiles. It was so quiet; you could only hear the scratching of pens and calm breathing. I've taught many of the students for several years now and I know which ones lack perseverance, focus, and self-confidence.

However, none of these traits made an appearance during the class.

Instead, students enjoyed the process, and more importantly, they were proud of their work. This was most evident when the students placed their tiles together in a mosaic. The students congratulated each other and offered warm praise.

The students created tangled ornaments a few days later as gifts for their parents. I wasn’t there for the ornaments, but the classroom teacher remarked on the intense focus and pleasure the students had on improving the same tangles learned earlier in the week.

​To see more of my tangling journey :

Instagram: @tangledlibrarian

Facebook: thetangledlibrarian

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