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Promoting Reading When the Doors to the Library are Closed

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The beginning of school this year was unbelievable. First, the start date was delayed because of the pandemic, and then we were out three times for three different hurricanes. It was hard to keep any kind of routine going. Currently, our middle school students either are virtual or come to school everyday. The high school students are virtual or hybrid (attending school in alternating two or three times a week) with a much larger proportion choosing to be virtual. When things did finally get underway, I was told that the doors to the library would be closed to students. That has not meant that I have been sitting idle. I think that I have worked harder this year than any other.  Students can order books to be delivered on a Google Form This is the first time that I have displayed books in the library's windows I am providing lessons from my desk to whole classes, meeting individually with students to assist with research, and pulling books that students order and delivering those t

Time to Mark a Milestone in Career

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When I go back to school tomorrow, it is the start of a new year that we have been waiting for - a new year that we hope will eventually turn into a normal one. Starting tomorrow will begin my 41st year of teaching. Though I am not yet retiring, and I won't receive a gold watch or any other kind of recognition, I  still think that it needs some sort of marker. At least, it does to me. So on the last day before break, I posted a picture of myself taken in my library on social media. I got many comments and responses from family and friends and former colleagues, but it was the comments from former students that touched me the most.  Hearing from students that what I taught them in the library was something that was useful in college is what makes me still find my job so rewarding. If what I do doesn't translate beyond my library and my school, why teach it? Here are a couple of my favorite comments: This student did not hang out in the library but visited with his classes from 6

Using Livebinders for Hurricane Katrina Project Podcast

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PODCAST found here 7th Graders on Field Trip in the Ninth Ward, February 2020 Every year over the last ten I have worked with the 7th grade English teachers on a project that encompasses literature, research, a written/digital product, a field trip, and service learning. In that time there have been five different teachers who have taught ELA to this grade level. One thing that has remained constant is me, and over the years, I have developed a tool to make the research super easy for the kids. Using  Livebinders  I have been able to curate resources and collate all the tools that the students need from the very beginning of the project when they read historical fiction about Hurricane Katrina's devastation in our area to the very end with the digital scrapbook. This is truly a collaborative project between the English teachers, myself, and our colleagues at Dr. King Charter school where we visit for service learning.  That's me receiving a thank you card at

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week Covid-19 Edition

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Found on the sidewalk on one of my daily walks in uptown New Orleans It's that time again when we celebrate teachers, and the hard work that they do in classrooms across the United States. So, I say to all you teachers out there: YOU ARE APPRECIATED!! My school is trying its best to give us little treats each and every day over the course of the week even though we are at home and not at school. The first gift was a sign for our yard, and lucky me, my sign was delivered by one of my very favorite students. I couldn't get a picture with her, but I did get one with me and the sign.  Then on Thursday, a truly wonderful treat arrived in my inbox. A thank you with quotes from different students. I love hearing what is important to them among the many things that I do at school. I think this sums it up nicely.  Click the image above to enlarge it I received something else in my email inbox from a seventh grader who created this meme just for me. Than

My Story about the Library During the Covid-19 Pandemic

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I have been gearing myself up to writing a blog post for the last couple of weeks. I think that it is important for me to document now what I have been going through in the library because in a few years this will hopefully be just a faded memory.  Email from the school district (click to enlarge it) On Friday, March 13th at about 1:15PM I opened an email from the district to see that our schools would be closed for a month. This is about the time that our high school students were finishing lunch, and I saw a strange excitement in the students outside the day at 2:40PM, so I had just over an hour to get kids into the library to check out books to take home. I sent an email to all teachers to let them know that I was open for business. Students kept coming in to check out books until the end of the day, and I kept loading them down with books. I have no clue how many I checked out that afternoon. Last week, I got an email from a student asking me how he could return h

Scheduling Virtual Visits with Authors

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Joy McCullough, author of Blood Water Paint Putting authors in front of my students at Taylor has always been a goal of mine, and I have been lucky over the years to have had many authors visit our school  since 2008. Getting authors to visit in house is not always possible for many reasons, so I have supplemented face to face visits with virtual visits. Skype use to be my method of choice until my school district blocked it. Since then, we have been using FaceTime quite effectively. So far everyone who I have scheduled for a virtual visit has some Apple device that allows us to use FaceTime.  Bookmarked and Girl Up (High School with Joy McCullough) I was early on the bandwagon for skyping with authors, and I could always find an author who had time to talk. Now, it has gotten more difficult as more librarians and teachers are asking for these virtual visits. I have such a small budget that I would rather spend library money on purchasing the author's books for my st

Banned Book Week 2019

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Every year, I do a lesson for Banned Book Week with 8th graders. They read Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson around the same time, and of course, BBW fits nicely with that book. I created a slide show for this activity years ago that I edit and update yearly. I wanted to share the lesson if anyone would care to use it. After my presentation with some great videos (there are four  videos embedded in the slide show) and lots of discussion, the students are put into seven groups. Each member of the group will read the same three articles about the freedom to read. I found the articles on the Gale Databases and the Internet. I have put all the folders with the articles in Google Drive so that the students could make a copy of each article and annotate each article individually. Last year, I made paper copies for annotation, and that was truly a nightmare. The students' job is to find four key facts that support the idea of  the importance of the freedom to read. They begin reading