Math & coding with our STEAM kids

Kids learned the basics of coding by playing a game with Star Wars' BB-8.

Kids learned the basics of coding by playing a game with Star Wars’ BB-8.

Our STEAM kids learned basic coding and mathematical skills by playing games—all kinds of games.

They practiced their arithmetic with scavenger hunts and trashketball (a combination of math and trash-can basketball.)

They learned coding with some help from Star Wars’ BB-8 and practiced math skills at Math Playground, a neat site where kids can play and learn at different levels.

We played all these games for two reasons:

  1. We want kids to know that math can be fun and used in many aspects of their lives.
  2. There are lots of ways to learn math, and kids can find the way that makes sense for them.

We also wanted the children to see that learning coding isn’t that different (or more difficult) than any other mathematical skill.

Santosh Akilesh uses one of our laptops to visit Math Playground.

Santosh Akilesh uses one of our laptops to visit Math Playground.

We had a lot of fun during our STEAM series.

We learned about fluorescence by paintingflew enormous paper airplanesmade stop-motion videos and experimented with candy.

And, while our series may be over, the library is stuffed with resources to help you learn about science, technology, engineering, art, and math.

And they all come free with your Mentor Public Library card.

Teams sharpen their arithmetical skills with a game of trashketball.

Teams sharpen their arithmetical skills with a game of trashketball.

 

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More Christmas music with Hoopla Holidays

Stream Christmas classics for free with Hoopla and your Mentor Public Library card.

Stream Christmas classics for free with Hoopla and your Mentor Public Library card.

Still need more Christmas music? Even though we made you a playlist with 25 holiday albums that you can download or stream for free from Freegal?

We have you covered.

With Hoopla and your Mentor Library card, you can stream up to 12 different albums for free each month. And they have an enormous catalog of Christmas music from which you can choose.

Here are some of your favorites, but feel free to browse around the Hoopla site and see what they have.

(By the way, if you don’t know how to use Hoopla, you can check out this video tutorial that one of our librarians made.)

1. White Christmas (40 Unforgettable Classics)

There are hundreds of Christmas compilations with different legends singing different standards. This is one of the best. You want Bing Crosby and Billie Holiday? You want Peggy Lee and Elvis? You want “White Christmas” and “Ave Maria?” This album has you covered—40 classics from the artists you want to hear sing them.

2. The Ultimate Motown Christmas

The Jackson 5 singing “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town,” Stevie Wonder singing “Ave Maria,” The Supremes singing “Joy to the World,” Four Tops, Johnny Gill, Marvin Gaye, even the Funk Brothers playing “Winter Wonderland”—after all, it’s not Christmas without some soul. Speaking of which,Aretha Franklin and Patti LaBelle also have Christmas albums you can stream via Hoopla.

3. Bing Crosby Sings Christmas Songs

For a generation, Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” is the Christmas song, but Bing has more classics than that in his catalog. Hear him sing everything from “Adeste Fideles” to “The Christmas Song.” And if you’re in the mood for a Rat Pack Christmas, check out holiday albums from Frank Sinatra,Dean Martinand the whole gang.

4. Muppet Christmas Carol: Special Edition

I’m not saying the Muppets own Christmas, but you could make a pretty awesome holiday playlist just using Muppets soundtracks.

5. A Charlie Brown Christmas

The only downside to listening to Vince Guaraldi’s classic soundtrack is you won’t be able to get “Linus and Lucy” out of your head for a couple of days. You’re probably humming it already. If you’re looking for other kid-friendly Christmas albums, try Veggie Tales’ A Very Veggie Christmas.

6. Christmastime in Larryland

Meanwhile, this one’s definitely not for the kids. But sometimes you just want to hear Larry the Cable Guy fart “Jingle Bells.” If you need more blue-collar Christmas, Bill Engvall has you covered.

7. Christmas with the Ray Brown Trio

Ray Brown’s one of the greatest jazz bassists of all time, and this album’s perfect for jazz fans who will snap if they hear “Run, Run Rudolph” one more time. For more Christmas jazz, check out Ray Brown’s old bandmate Oscar Peterson.

8. This Is Christmas (Elvis Presley Performing Timeless Christmas Classics)

If Bing owns “White Christmas,” then nobody sang “Blue Christmas” like the King. He also has a beautiful version of “Peace in the Valley.”

9. Bach: Advent & Christmas Cantatas

For lovers of classical music or for those who need background music during Christmas dinner. More classical Christmas: The Royal Philharmonic take on seasonal standards.

10. Christmas Grass Too

A sweet compilation of bluegrass Christmas songs that includes Dolly Parton, Charlie Daniels, the Larkins and more. For more Christmas country, try Alan Jackson’s Let It Be Christmas.

11. Phineas and Ferb Holiday Favorites

“I Really Don’t Hate Christmas” is probably my favorite Christmas song. Thank you, Dr. Doofenshmirtz.

12. An All-4-One Christmas

What? Sometimes, you just want a New Jack Swing Christmas.

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Freegal Navidad

Download Christmas music (from Dolly Parton to Run DMC) for free with Freegal and your Mentor Public Library card.

Download Christmas music (from Dolly Parton to Run DMC) for free with Freegal and your Mentor Public Library card.

Thanksgiving is over. Nobody can give you a dirty look for playing Christmas music now.

And that’s great news, because there is a lot of awesome (and free) Christmas music waiting for you on Freegal.

Freegal is one of the MPL’s digital services, which lets you download DRM-free mp3s of your favorite songs. Moreover, once you download a song, you can keep the mp3 forever. Put it on your phone, your computer, your iPod–wherever you want. It’s yours.

And if you prefer to stream music, you can do that too!

If you have a Mentor Public Library card, you can download five songs for free every week, and there’s no limit to how many songs you can stream.

So here are just a smattering of your seasonal choices.

1. Pentatonix, A Pentatonix Christmas

Everyone’s favorite a capella quintet went back to the well after the success of That’s Christmas to MeBut that’s all right, because it turns out this well is plenty deep. The standout is their cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” but whomever thought to team Pentatonix with Manhattan Transfer for a cover of “White Christmas” deserves a raise.

2. Mariah Christmas, Merry Christmas

Mandatory holiday listening, if only for “All I Want for Christmas Is You.”

3. The Piano Guys, A Family Christmas

The Piano Guys have a knack for creating music that’s catchy and innovative while still recognizable as classical.

4. Wham!, Last Christmas

Andrew Ridgely. You were just trying to remember the other guy’s name. It’s Andrew Ridgely.

5. Superstar Christmas

The rare compilation that’s not exaggerating when it claims to contain superstars. Mariah Carey, Frank Sinatra, Cyndi Lauper, Placido Domingo, Michael Bolton, Gloria Estefan and Barbra Streisand are all on this eclectic guest list.

6. Frankie Yankovic, Christmas Party

What’s a Cleveland Christmas party without a little polka?

7. Christmas Rap

With all due respect to Kurtis Blow, Run-DMC’s “Christmas in Hollis” is the most important hip-hop holiday song ever.

8. She & Him, Christmas Party

Because it’s not Christmas until Zooey Deschanel sings “A Marshmallow World.”

9. Lea Salonga, The Christmas Album

It’s like listening to a Christmas album from Jasmine and Mulan.

10. John Denver, The Classic Christmas Album

Yes, it’s John Denver, so there’s some schmaltz, but he also sings, “Please Daddy (Don’t Get Drunk this Christmas.”)

11. Kelly Clarkson, Wrapped in Red
Clarkson has the voice to make a new cover of Run, Run Rudolph worthwhile.

12. Harry Belafonte, Christmas
Belafonte could sing about muddy slush and it would still sound great with his voice.

13. Dolly Parton, Home for Christmas
As a general rule, we love Dolly. This is doubly true during the holidays.

14. Ukulele Christmas
This album’s for all the people who loved Israel Kamakawiwo`ole’s version of Over the Rainbow. And, no, these standards aren’t performed by IZ, but they have that same combination of earnestness and sweetness.

Personal favorite: Auld Lang Syne, but you might also like the Over the Rainbow/We Wish You a Merry Christmas medley.

15. Kirk Franklin, Christmas
If you need some gospel music this time of year, Kirk Franklin and the Family have you covered. Standards like Go Tell It on the Mountain and O Come All Ye Faithful sound sweeter than ever.

16. Harry Connick Jr., When my Heart Finds Christmas
Connick has a lot of Christmas albums in his discography. This one’s our favorite but they are all available on Freegal. Personal favorite: I Pray on Christmas.

17. Parranda All-Stars: Navidad
There’s a lot more to Latin Christmas music than Feliz Navidad. This album is a good place to start.

18. NSYNC, Home for Christmas
If you bought the CD or even *gasp* the cassette when you were in middle school, here’s a chance to update your medium for free.

19. Glee Cast, Blue Christmas
If you don’t like Glee…

20. Elvis, The Classic Christmas Album
Freegal has the Elvis version of Blue Christmas too.

21. Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass, Christmas Album

This album is one part chaos, one part saccharine. The anarchy saves the schmaltz and vice-versa.

22. Loretta Lynn, White Christmas Blue

Only Lynn could pull off a tune called “To Heck with Ole Santa Claus.”

23. The Manhattan Transfer, The Christmas Album

Any of the kids who enjoyed the Pentatonix album atop this list owe it to themselves to check out The Manhattan Transfer, who were (in many ways) the progenitor of Pentatonix’s style.

24. Johnny Cash, Classic Christmas

We love Johnny Cash, because he still scowls on the cover of his Christmas album.

25. Miranda Cosgrove, Christmas Wrapping

Not to be confused with Christmas Rap.

Other Freegal playlists:

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Holiday Story Times & Programs at Mentor Public Library

Celebrate the holidays at Mentor Public Library.

Celebrate the holidays at Mentor Public Library.

It’s a very special time of year—time for peace on earth, decking the halls and stocking stuffing.

It’s also a good time for story time!

We are hosting a sleigh-full of special programs to celebrate the season at all of our branches, including:

All of these programs are free, though some of them require registration beforehand. You can sign up on our online event calendar or by calling the library.

Happy Holidays!

Mr. Dennis will perform his annual Christmas comedy show again this December at oru Headlnads Branch.

Mr. Dennis will perform his annual Christmas comedy show again this December at our Headlands Branch.

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American Girl Book Club meets Molly

Samantha makes a lei for her doll during American Girl Book Club at Mentor Public Library.

Samantha makes a lei for her doll during American Girl Book Club at Mentor Public Library.

Our American Girl Book Club met Molly McIntire this month.

The girls traveled back to an era of victory gardens and rubber rationing, and they learned how American girls lived during World War II.

On the first Wednesday of each month, our club gets together to discuss a different American Girl book. Then we make a craft and play games that tie into the book, character or era.

For example, in November, we discussed how the McIntires conserved because of resource shortages during World War II. So we made sit-upons (a homemade waterproof seat) using recycled newspaper.

The girls also made leis for their doll.

Abby makes a sit-upon during our club meeting.

Abby makes a sit-upon during our club meeting.

If you have a child who likes the American Girl books or dolls, then she can join the fun. They can even bring their dolls with them, if they like. (Of course, the dolls aren’t required.)

Our next meeting is 4 p.m. on Dec. 7 in the children’s section of our Main Branch on Mentor Avenue. The girls will be meeting Julie.

You can register your child for the book club on our web site or by calling (440) 255-8811 ext. 221.

Laila shows off the lei she made for her doll.

Laila shows off the lei she made for her doll.

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