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Wednesday 101–Computer Skills

Computer Skills

Whether you can barely use the Internet or you are a programmer, there are free online tutorials to help you. Here are some of our favorites to get you started. Check our Online Learning Pinterest board for more!

GCFLearnFree.org part of the Goodwill Community Foundation, starts with the basics. Offering online videos explaining everything from reading to basic math and personal finance to email, this is a great starting point for people new to computers or those looking to grow basic skills.

Grow With Google offers online video tutorials for using the Google Suite of products. Gmail, Google Drive, Sheets, etc. The Applied Digital Skills Tutorials teaches users the nuts and bolts of these apps while students perform practical tasks like sending and receiving email, building a resume, and making a budget. Tutorials are available for both adult and middle/high school learners.

Got the basics mastered, Grow With Google also offers G Suite certification lessons, as well basic coding and machine learning.

You will need a google account (they are free!) to begin.

Microsoft offers free online training on their products as well. The Office 365 Training Center utilizes short videos to teach users the basics of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and more. The Cheat Sheets are definitely worth a look even for advanced users!

Geared to IT professionals, or those looking to become one, Microsoft also offers online training for their Azure, Microsoft 365, and Power Platform products. Classes are free but certification testing is paid.

Formerly known as Lynda, LinkedIn Learning offers training on everything from the basic to the advanced and includes everything from productivity skills, computer lingo, and software tips. LinkedIn Learning is free for the first month and you will need a LinkedIn account to sign in.

SkillShare is an online learning platform that offers free classes for two months. Featuring member submitted videos, topics range from the creative to analytical. Skillshare also offers a number of always free classes including lessons on a variety of social media platforms, productivity apps, and other computer applications. The site can be tricky to navigate, so be sure to try the search if you are looking for something specific.

If you are looking for something specific and you are patient and willing to sort a lot of results you can’t go wrong with a basic YouTube search. Once you find a creator you like you can subscribe to their channel and see more by them to broaden your skills.

Got a resource to recommend, email us baynelibrary @ einetwork.net!

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Outdoor Exploration for Insects

Today we are sharing tips, activities, and a nature journaling prompt that highlight the theme of our Nature Backpack – Insects!

Spring is a wonderful time to explore for insects in your yard or along a hiking trail. All that’s required is curiosity, and you may already have some things that can enhance your child’s exploration!

Encourage them to make collection containers using materials you have at home like tiny glass jars or yogurt cups. A magnifying glass can be helpful for seeing small details and binoculars can be used to watch insects pollinate flowers from afar.

If you have an old white t-shirt, dish towel, or pillowcase, allow them to take it outside and lay it flat on the ground.  Show them how to collect handfuls of leaf litter (old dried leaves) to place on top of the white material.  As they sort through the leaves they will likely see some small insects against the white background. Perhaps they will even spot springtails!

Help them to safely look beneath stones and under any fallen branches or small logs. Closely investigate the ground and the stone and log surface.

If you are along the edge of a pond, creek, or stream you may see some insects in their larval form like dragonfly nymphs and caddisfly nymphs by looking beneath rocks that are submerged or by sifting through the mud with a mesh pasta strainer.   

If they find something interesting, provide a paper and a pencil to your budding entomologist so they can start their own insect nature journal, one page at a time.  They can include a drawing of what they found, write where they found it, and what it was doing.  It is more important to observe the insect than it is to know its name. Children love having a mystery to solve! Later they can research based on their observations and include its name, a fun fact, and what it likes to eat!  

Please visit our Insects, Spiders, and Worms board on our Bayne Library Pinterest for additional resources and inspiration.  

You can find the insect themed nature backpack in the library catalog. Adding the backpack to your list in the catalog is a great way to remind yourself to put it on hold to check out in the future.  There are eleven different backpacks with various nature themes!

Each backpack contains a collection of materials that help children learn by exploring local parks and natural areas thanks to a collaboration between the Allegheny County Library Association, the Allegheny County Parks, Allegheny Land Trust and the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy.

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Storytime At Home!

Are you missing storytime? We are too. Why not try and hold your own.

  • Ask your children to search for a book you have at home that they would like to present for storytime.
  • Have then gather an audience:  stuffed animals, cooperative pets, and other family members.
  • If your child is old enough to read the story aloud let them. If they are too young to read you can help them co-present by reading aloud or helping them by reading aloud and having them repeat what you just said.
  • Have your child hold the book so they can see it while reading, but have them walk around to show the page to each member their audience before they turn to the next page. 
  • Encourage funny voices, making sound effects, counting, pointing out colors, talking about what is happening on a page, and movement to act out the story.
  • If you have multiple kids, give each kid a chance to read a book in the storytime session.  Have older children read to younger children.
  • If this activity is enjoyable, you could repeat it each week with different books from your home or from digital access.

Extension activities:

  • Think of a theme and read multiple books about that theme.
  • Sing a song you know that makes sense with the story you just read. You can even adapt a song or make up a new song.
  • Can you think of a craft you can do using resources within your home that pertains to the topic of the book? Check our Pinterest boards for ideas!
  • Use special voices to pretend to be audience members (stuffed animals, pets) and have them ask questions after the reading for your child to give responses.
  • Visit the Author’s and Illustrator’s webpage to learn more about them and other books on which they have worked.

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Baby Lapsit

We are working behind the scenes to create Pinterest boards of our favorite resources. Up first, Baby Lapsit!

Baby Reading

Entertaining babies can be harder than it looks. There are lots of activities recommended online, but which are the best? Our Baby Lapsit board features some of our favorite round-ups of songs, fingerplays, and bounces from our go-to resources.

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Fine Free!

As of January 1, 2020, Bayne Library will no longer be charging fines on overdue items.

Learn more about this initiative.

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